The House of Representatives and Senate need to work together to produce a bill to fund the rest of Fiscal Year 2011. Congress has acted irresponsibly in their inability to come to a reasonable solution, and by doing so has put additional stress on programs and vulnerable people who rely on them. Extremely short-term continuing resolutions put safety net programs—and those who struggle in poverty—at greater risk by exposing programs and people to more and more disastrous budget cuts, as well as to more and more uncertainty about the future of these programs. NETWORK calls on Congress to cease their unrealistic calls for drastic cuts and to find a reasonable solution to fund the government before the latest short-term continuing resolution expires.
This week’s passage of H.J. Res. 44 avoided a government shutdown by passing legislation to fund the government past March 4, but it is irresponsible to pass a short, two-week budget allocation as it leaves little time for Congress to come to a fair compromise on the longer continuing resolution. The cuts included in H.J. Res. 44 were initially included in President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposal, which would have eliminated programs in the upcoming fiscal year, but cancelling programs mid-year sets a bad precedent and leaves no mechanisms to responsibly wind down programs such as the Striving Readers program or Even Start (Department of Education). Congress and the administration must work quickly to cement an agreement to responsibly and fairly fund the government for the remainder of FY ’11 during the next two weeks.