The Congress Is Running Out of Time to Avoid a Shutdown

This week, Congress is up against a deadline because the federal government is scheduled to shut down at midnight on Friday if lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement on a funding plan to keep the lights on.

It gives lawmakers more time, and there is less political pressure on them to pass a longer financing bill, because the currently proposed legislation would maintain financing at its current level through December 16, which is when the midterm elections take place.

The issue of permitting reform for energy and mineral projects has been a primary source of contention throughout the discussion. The matter has taken on an increased level of significance as a direct result of the record-high gas prices that were experienced earlier in the year and the interruptions that occurred on the oil market as a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Last Monday, United States Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, proposed included a permitting reform bill in the government budget measure. This measure would hasten the licensing process for energy projects.

In a statement, the office of Manchin said, As part of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law on August 16th, 2022, Chairman Manchin got a commitment from Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and President Biden to approve this comprehensive permitting reform package by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, 2022.

That effort to reform permitting, however, has become a source of controversy due to concerns raised by a small number of left-leaning Democrats who claim it goes too far, as well as concerns raised by Republicans who propose their own version of allowing reform and say that Manchin's reforms won't do enough to compel the Biden administration to make a significant change.

According to Manchin, the process that is already in place takes too long and drives up prices.  He contends that his changes are very balanced. [Citation needed]

Take a look at what the people in the United States are dealing with right now—a 200 percent increase in the price of natural gas, he remarked. The price of normal gasoline has increased by 67%, and the price of residential electricity has increased by 15%. We have an excellent piece of legislation that is very well rounded.

As a result of Manchin's amendment, climate activists and energy interests are now participating in the discussion on the otherwise essentially unchanged budget proposal.

Daniel Turner, the executive director of Power the Future, an advocacy group for energy workers, stated that the recent interruptions in the oil market are evidence of the need for energy independence so that we are no longer dependent on Russia or OPEC.

Just three years after achieving it, energy independence is within sight if only politicians would quit playing games with the country's essential energy infrastructure. The Manchin permitting reform is a prominent example of what Washington, DC has become: a petty and infantile place where normal Americans endure the brunt of the matches played by politicians.  As we move into winter with critically low amounts of oil and gas, and the green utopia that Biden promised is nowhere near reality, we are in a difficult situation. How much more hardship must American households endure before our politicians prioritize the interests of the people over partisan bickering?

This week will be a turning point in the fight over permitting reform, which has the potential to bring the government to a standstill if MPs are unable to reach a deal.

But many who disagreed with the MPs' decision criticized them for enabling the government to come so close to shutting down in the first place.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, stated that the fact that we are into the final days of the fiscal year and Congress has not even enacted a budget, let alone established funding levels for the government for the next fiscal year, is a total failure of leadership. It is a full failure of leadership that we are entering the last days of the fiscal year and we are entering the final days of the fiscal year, MacGuineas said. For the fifth year in a row, Congress has failed to pass even one funding bill at the beginning of the fiscal year, making this the 26th year in a row that the government has not been fully financed on time.

She went on to say that this demonstrates how seriously flawed the process for creating the federal budget is.

Other critics brought up the issue of inflation, which has skyrocketed over the course of the past year. Price rises caused by inflation have been partially offset in recent weeks by a decline in the price of gasoline, but in the most recent week, the price of gasoline has started to grow again.

Inflation is out of control and putting genuine hardship on the American people, said Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation. They are compelled to prioritize their expenditures in order to afford gasoline, groceries, and other necessities.

By contrast, Congress is taking a lunch break because they have decided to give the budget from the previous year a rubber stamp and give themselves the opportunity to design a big omnibus spending package during the lame-duck period, when they will be least accountable to voters. This is a bad idea.  The aims of the Left are being funded by wasteful and irresponsible spending thanks to the plan proposed by Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer. The passage of this budget bill ensures that business will continue as usual.

MacGuineas, who stated that the national debt has already climbed by more than a trillion dollars this year, called for a reform to the budget process to encourage actual, timely planning instead of hanging until the last minute only to kick the can further down the road once more.

The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Headline USA.

Written by Staff Reports

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