Speaker Boehner’s Continuing Resolution Is Not So ‘Clean’

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Recent news reports indicate that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) intends to press the House of Representatives to pass what he calls a “clean” continuing resolution, ostensibly to avoid a government shutdown and to give his caucus more time to force another round of deep cuts to critical programs, services, and investments. But in fact, a continuing resolution at the levels Speaker Boehner proposed—totaling approximately $988 billion in overall discretionary funding—would already include another round of spending cuts. The speaker’s plan would have Congress endorse 100 percent of next year’s sequester spending cuts for nondefense programs and services and about 60 percent of the automatic defense spending cuts. It is easy to see why this approach would be attractive to Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party; it is much harder to understand why any progressive or centrist would support such an approach.

Of course, Congress should do everything within reason to avoid a government shutdown. A shutdown would have painful consequences for the American people and the American economy. At the same time, Congress must resist unreasonable demands to make further damaging cuts to important investments in our economic future, such as education and scientific research; basic public safety protections, such as food and drug inspections and law enforcement; or services that help support struggling families. These services, programs, and investments have already suffered from enormous cuts—and we are likely to feel the ramifications for years. Yet even more cuts are embedded within Speaker Boehner’s continuing-resolution proposal.

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