Column: Government returns after shutdown… at least for now

Column: Government returns after shutdown... at least for now

The Senate on last Wednesday night proposed and passed a deal to reopen the government, push back the debt ceiling, and artificially fund the government until Jan. 15. And while this is fantastic news, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves in rejoicing. As part of the deal to reopen the government, Congress must agree on a way to refund the government by mid-December, or face another large-scale shutdown similar to what was just experienced in the last 16 days. As of right now, both Republicans and Democrats claim to have faith that a bipartisan agreement will be made, but these are only surface statements.

If we look deeper into the committees set forth to create the new budget plan and the history of the two sides on this issue, and we’ll see that the Congress has merely delayed another shutdown, not ended it for good. Two of the Republicans on the new budget committee didn’t vote to reopen the government and have been staunch adversaries of any budget progress in the recent past. Paul Ryan, a Republican Congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, was fully committed to letting the United States default on its debt and throw the country back into economic disarray in order to keep the government shut down. So what does that say about the future success of a new budget committee? In fact, there are even more telling signs that lead to the U.S. not being able to pull itself out of the mire it’s in. Ryan’s Budget Committee was supposed to have created a new budget proposal since last spring, yet never was able to come up with a concrete proposal that people from both the House and the Senate could agree upon. If he and his committee couldn’t do it in eight months, how will anything more productive get done in three?

A second shutdown is the last thing that this country needs. The past 16 days already have discredited international relations and cost America billions of dollars, so a repeat would be extremely detrimental to our domestic and foreign interests. Multiple economics consulting firms have estimated that the economic impacts of this shutdown will be upwards of several billions of dollars, although that doesn’t take into account consumer instability and international instability. Domestically, markets are set to drop precipitously due to the uncertainty of the shutdown and its resulting factors. This is turn will reduce consumer security, leading to a decrease in spending.

Internationally, American credibility is ruined, since a simple disagreement on a policy can lead us into a large scale shutdown. Countries with heavy investments in U.S. Treasury Bonds will no longer be as comfortable buying those bonds, since the future of American economic security is unclear. Countries such as Japan and China will no longer have as great of a economic backing for our nation, hurting our economy and well-being. All of these implications have stemmed from one shutdown, so a second one would only exacerbate these problems.

The upcoming budget negotiations are important, but more important is the government’s obligation to create a new budget proposal and save the interests of the nation and its people. No matter how it gets done, a new proposal must be passed and a second shutdown must be avoided.