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Congress should stop relying on a temporary fix

When the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives recently passed a continuing resolution and raised our national debt limit, it once again prevented a government default - at least for now.

However, the same issues that have caused a government impasse for the last five years still remain. It took a 16-day partial government shut-down before members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives would even sit down and talk about their differences. Then all the two groups agreed to was that they would temporarily fund the government until January, and that they would appoint a committee to discuss the budget impasse.

The agreement does nothing to address the underlying disagreement, nor does it do anything to address our staggering and rapidly-growing national debt.

"We have to stop kicking the can down the road," said Oregon Congressman Greg Walden after voting no on the continuing resolution. "This temporary plan does nothing to address the epic problem: spending borrowed money we don't have and cannot sustain. It kicks the can down the road yet again for only three months, and we'll be right back where we ended up this week. Enough is enough."

Walden is right. Regardless of your party leanings, we have a government spending problem. In the eight years George W. Bush was in office, our national debt soared to nearly $10 trillion. Since Barack Obama took office five years ago, it has risen again to nearly $17 trillion.

Perhaps even more troubling than the debt is the unfunded liability which RedState.com now estimates to be more than $123 trillion. That is $390,667.14 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

There is plenty of blame to go around for both the reckless spending and the toxic environment in Washington. From 2009 to March of 2013, the democratically-controlled Senate was unable to even pass a budget. In March, the Senate finally approved their first budget in more than four years. However, they were unable to reconcile that budget with the budget passed by the Republican-controlled House, so the country is still operating without a budget - hence the need for the repeated series of temporary continuing resolutions.

Extremists on both ends of the political spectrum have held the system hostage. Republicans in the House have passed bills that they knew had no chance to gain approval in the Senate, while Senate majority leader Harry Reid, (D - Nev.) has refused to even allow a vote on budget and appropriations bills in the Senate.

The problem has become so extreme that during the first nine months of 2012, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved 11 of 12 spending bills, but not one of the bills came before the full Senate for a vote.

Had the Senate approved the bills, they would have then had to negotiate with the House and reconcile the differences in the two bills. Since the two sides are miles apart, it appears that neither side wanted to participate in the reconciliation process. Instead, both have begun to resort to name-calling and blaming the other side.

Enough is enough. It is time for leaders on both sides of the political aisle to put on their big-boy pants and finally begin the tough process of negotiating in good faith to address our nation's spending problems and staggering debt.

Anything less is unacceptable.




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