WASHINGTON - With lawmakers at an apparent impasse over how much spending reform will be included in a budget covering the remainder of the fiscal year and non-essential government services set to be suspended at the end of the week, members of the Project 21 black leadership network suggest a slowdown may be just the thing to bring liberal politicians to the table to talk common sense on spending.
"Given our nation's precarious financial situation, it should be simple for lawmakers to find the mere tens of billions in cuts that conservatives are asking for. After all, they and their predecessors amassed a debt of over $14 trillion," said Project 21 member Ak'Bar Shabazz. "But the offers being made by liberals are incompatible with sustained economic growth. If the leaders in Washington cannot reach a deal that promotes fiscal sanity and possibly even savings, I see no problem with a slowdown of non-essential government projects as the proverbial stick to get people to the table to talk real reform."
"A real government shutdown would likely do more to boost the economy and the country more than all of Obama's stimulus efforts combined," said Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch.
"Contrary to the propaganda of liberal media, conservatives do share the value of altruism with liberals. The point of contention comes where liberals insist upon violating that old adage 'you cannot spend what you do not have,'" said Project 21 member Stacy M. Swimp. "Altruism must not and cannot come at the cost of common sense. There must be shared sacrifice. If the upfront sacrifice of shutting down government results in a long-term benefit of a sustainable society, conservatives must yet hold their ground. Reigning in spending is the only common sense option towards a healthy America."
"The capacity of Congress for ineptitude and inefficiency is at critical mass," said Project 21 member Jerome Hudson. "Trillions in deficits have consequences, and the deleterious behavior on display in Washington leaves no doubt that these lawmakers lack the moral courage needed to right our fiscal ship. While President Obama fails to take the lead by championing responsible budget cuts, Congress continues to engage in party politics that pushes our economy down a road of self-sabotage. Perhaps a government slowdown will provide the shock the system sorely needed on Capitol Hill."
Temporary government funding will expire at midnight on Saturday, April 9. Congressional leaders are negotiating a long-term funding resolution to operate the government through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, but conservative lawmakers support $61 billion in cuts to expected spending while their liberal colleagues wants that number reduced to $33 billion or less. Should the deadline pass without a resolution, the Office of Management and Budget is working with other federal agencies to deal with the slowdown in government services by designating employees as "essential" and "non-essential." OMB officials are not publicly disclosing contingency plans, but national security and safety positions are not expected to be affected.