Another Casualty


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.

  • Al Iriberri

    Of course we’ll see the usual gang of idiots parading in front of shuttered museums bemoaning the closures they demanded. Because….reasons.

  • johninoregon

    “The latest casualty may be the Smithsonian Institute….”

    “Institution,” not “Institute.”

  • Brutlyhonest

    Everyone knows the only bad part of sequestration is “devastating” defense cuts …

  • Christopher Foxx

    The Democratically-controlled Senate requested unanimous consent

    Well, there’s yer problem. The Democrats think being in control means they have to ask the minority for permission.

    • feloniousgrammar

      So that’s why the GOP effort to default was foiled.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Your suggesting the Democrats have always acted like the majority when they’ve been in power?

        • feloniousgrammar

          Considering that the Blue Dog Democrats wouldn’t have gotten elected in their states had they been as liberal as some of us want them to be, I’d say we do pretty well. Actually compromising— like the compromise that allowed unemployed people to stay on the unemployment roles— is often the better choice.

          Sure, I’d like to see the DNC work better and for more liberal Democrats to get elected, but that’s probably not representative right now. If anyone needs to be doing a better job, it’s the press. They “compromise” in a different and more underhanded sense.

          Right now the President and Democrats are messaging just like so many liberals have long said they should, so wouldn’t this be a good time to recognize that, express that recognition, and reward it by sending encouragement? It’s important to acknowledge that most of our Democratic Congresspersons do work, and that many of them make every effort to do what’s best for our country. They’re people. Our relationship with our reps cut both ways. You want your reps to do something? Tell them. When they do it, express appreciation in political conversations and thank your reps, or the President.

  • IrishGrrrl

    I almost choked when I heard Paul Ryan pontificating on the upcoming attempt to reconcile the House and Senate bills….it’s the way the process is supposed to work…..when he voted against the CR. What a pathetic excuse for a human being he is.

  • pamelabrown53

    As Biden once said, this is a BFD. I can’t believe that no one is commenting on this and making a huge ruckus.