"Since next week the five week summer vacation starts for Congress, ask your Congressman or woman when you see them on the campaign trail how the budget is coming."
The sky is blue, the summer breezes are cool, and sweet corn has started showing up at roadside stands. Campaign season is in full swing, so everyone is either busy, having a good time, or both. What could possibly go wrong? For starters, even though it may not feel like the end of the year is approaching - it is. The government fiscal year. And the House of Representatives, which under Article One of our Constitution, plays a pivotal role in funding our government, only has 15 working days until October 1, 2018.
Since everyone has been so busy investigating everyone else, I dare say not much has been done on our GFY 2019 budget. Well some, but a ton of work remains. Why is that so dog gone important to have this budget done? First off, it takes two to tango. President Trump has already informed Speaker Ryan (more than once) that he is DONE signing continuing resolutions (CR's). Because of that, if the President does not have a sign-able budget document on his desk by 12:01 am on October 1, 2018 - the government shuts down.
There is one more thing which needs to be addressed about this budget before the President will sign it. "The Wall" - or should I say, border security. The President had to bite his cheek last year by only getting a small portion of the needed funding. But he signed it, as it had the right amount of funding to start rebuilding our military. This time, there will be no such hammer. No border security, no signature.
One more thing worth mentioning. The Democrats knew they had the President over a barrel last time around. They threw everything into the GFY 18 funding except the kitchen sink - on second thought, that might have been included. Once again, to get the much needed military funding, Trump had to sign this bloated pig of a bill. "Never again" he said as he signed it. I truly believe he meant it.
I would like to say I am a soothsayer, but I am not. I can only tell the future of our GFY 2019 funding bill because this is so predictable. Like in the past five years, of the twelve funding bills portions needed each year, only one out of 60 has been done on time. Yes, we have seen this movie dozens of times. The bill is not done in time, a CR is prepared, then signed, and the can is kicked down the street. Wash, rinse, repeat. Only this time the President has told Congress they have used up their mulligan. Election year or not, he will shut the government down on October 1st, if he does not have a good budget.
Truthfully - if we had good governance, this budget bill would be signed, sealed and delivered by now. On October 1st, the new funding would kick in. Easy peasy. But we do not have good governance. And Congress is going to end up looking like the Keystone Cops once again.
Since next week the five week summer vacation starts for Congress, ask your Congressman or woman when you see them on the campaign trail how the budget is coming. Should be an interesting answer. They can't shift the blame - the Constitution does say the buck stops with Congress on this one.