Crisis averted, for now

Congress finally got together Wednesday and passed its favorite kind of legislation – taking a national crisis and putting it off for a few more months. The legislation passed on Wednesday authorizes government spending to keep the doors open and the lights on, but only until Jan. 15. It will allow the U.S. Treasury to borrow more money to finance the federal debt, but only until Feb. 7.

In the meantime, congressional negotiators are supposed to be working on a federal budget, something that Congress hasn’t been able to pass for about four years now. The House will pass a budget bill, but the Senate shoots it down. The Senate passes a budget bill, but the House won’t accept it. Now, by Dec. 13, the two bodies are expected to come up with a deficit reduction plans and budget proposal everyone can accept before the federal spending and debt ceiling deadlines come up again.

We are delighted that furloughed government workers are coming back to work today, and that the U.S. Treasury isn’t defaulting on the nation’s debt, sending the nation and the world into an economic tailspin.

But the fact that the government has only kicked the can down the road once again (a truly cliched but totally accurate phrase) is disheartening.

We hope Congress will stop thinking of the U.S. Capitol as a battlefield and start thinking of it as a workplace. The nation needs less fighting and more work done.

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