Now that Congress has its immense, $1.1 trillion bipartisan funding bill in hand, Capitol Hill is breathing easier. They ended the specter of a government shutdown for the moment and funded the federal budget for most of the year. The media has been commending Congress for finally doing its job.
This praise works only in the context of recent history, however. The bill that congressional leaders produced is hardly a triumph. Instead, it’s another example of Congress’s stubborn determination to deal itself out of the budgeting process. Let me explain.
In recent years, Congress has funded the federal government in one of two ways. Either it’s passed a “continuing resolution,” which is a stopgap measure to keep the government functioning with the same funding it had previously, or it’s passed huge omnibus bills like the one it just enacted. This most recent bill runs more than 1,500 pages.
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