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Seattle Times: Chaos in the House
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The behavior of the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is simply bizarre. An institution with the power and authority to manage government finances and scrutinize the budget instead chooses to play dangerous fiscal games.

Friday's vote to continue the lazy sequestration funding bill if the U.S. Senate and President Obama agree to shut down the Affordable Care Act was just weird.

Scarier still, the federal government faces a mid-October deadline to adjust the borrowing limit so the country can continue to cover its debts and pay its bills.

The House appears intent on extending this game of budgetary chicken to risk a default by the United States.

Extensions of the debt limit have been routine for nearly a century as the central government maintains its responsibilities to its citizens, federal duties and domestic and foreign commitments.

"It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy." A predictable Democratic outcry? No, that is the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, R. Bruce Josten.

Last March Congress adopted across-the-board spending cuts with no priorities or rankings. Every budget trimmed the same amount regardless of the role or function performed. That was a compromise to avoid another disaster. The pattern repeats itself.

This approach is a fraud, and it is cowardly and lazy. Let the GOP articulate a coherent list of budget priorities and hold the hearings to expose what needs to be done. Members of the Congress should perform the role the U.S. Constitution empowers them to do — and that they were elected — to carry out.

Can the government be a better steward of taxpayer dollars? Always. Do the work to make it happen, or step aside. Elect genuinely fiscally conservative Republicans to do the work.

What the country is witnessing is shameful. The economic dangers that lurk ahead are real and potentially devastating.

The Seattle Times
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