News Release

Government Shutdown Hinders Budget Transparency


JO COMERFORD, via Derrick Crowe, dcrowe at
Comerford is executive director of the National Priorities Project. She said today: “Congress will fail to meet the October 1 appropriations deadline, likely leading to a government shutdown. Sadly, this is a familiar crisis for our nation. For the past decade, not once has Congress passed all 12 appropriations bills on time, relying heavily on emergency budgeting by continuing resolution. This trend seriously undermines the transparency of the appropriations process and hurts Americans’ ability to influence how their tax dollars are spent. Worse, this time Congress prioritized the political payoff of protecting military funding over protecting those hardest hit by an economy that still has not recovered for most Americans. There’s no turning away from it: Congress is broken, and it’s deaf to the needs of its constituents.

“Our lawmakers’ failure completely bypasses their responsibility to democratic process. We advise members of Congress and senators to ask themselves, ‘If my constituents wanted to influence the last-minute appropriations we just attempted, how would they have done so?’ We suspect an answer to such a question would be hard to give.

“Government shutdowns and the uncertainty of crisis government-by-continuing-resolution cause deep, insidious damage to the transparency of the appropriations process — and hence, of our democracy. Congress must recommit to an appropriations process that is regular and transparent so that citizens can influence in a meaningful way how their tax dollars are spent — and ensure the government stays open to spend them.”