Let’s not forget that sequestration is still in effect and that the recent continuing resolution approved by Congress to avoid financial apocalypse continues the proud tradition of cutting programs for no good reason.
The latest casualty may be the Smithsonian Institute, which is facing the possibility of furloughs and temporary closer.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Smithsonian Institution is facing a $65 million budget cut this year under automatic funding reductions approved by Congress. Officials say that could lead to furloughs or museum closings if the cuts persist for the year ahead.
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough says the museum complex has trimmed its budget for the past year to absorb federal funding cuts but now may have to adopt more drastic measures. He says furloughs and temporary museum closings are up for discussion.
I don’t agree with those who naively argued that Democrats should have demanded an end to sequestration during the GOP Government Shutdown because that would have made us no better than the Republicans, and sequestration was never the focus of that fight. Averting financial collapse and ending federal paralysis was the focus.
With that said, Democrats should play hardball on sequestration in the coming months while avoiding any situation that would result in another shutdown or a default.
Until Congress approves a budget for fiscal 2014, sequestration will be here to stay. We’re currently operating under an extended version of the fiscal 2013 budget.
The Democratically-controlled Senate requested unanimous consent to go to conference for fiscal 2014 in April of this year, but Republicans refused to proceed to conference over 20 times since then.
It would be very embarrassing and unfortunate if the government operated under a continuing resolution until fiscal 2015 but, given what we’ve just been through, that seems like a plausible scenario. That is unless you believe the coming budget conference will be anything other than a rhetorical replay of the past several weeks.