After 13 continuing resolutions, a majority of congressmen got fed up with budget brinksmanship and passed an omnibus budget appropriations bill that would keep more than two dozen agencies and departments operating until the end of the fiscal year.
While we applaud the progress, it is hard to ignore the fact that many agencies were forced to operate for nearly seven months of the fiscal year without a clear idea of what their funding levels would be.
Hill observers say the impasse was resolved because representatives were getting feedback from the public that everyone was tired of the constant shutdowns and threats of shutdowns. Both sides of the aisle decided to let the public vote in November and select politicians whose points of view on many of the spending issues reflect those of the voters.
We are all grateful for the respite. It is worth keeping in mind, however, that both sides have also agreed to reduce the budget significantly over the next five to seven years. Cuts will come primarily from discretionary spending—which includes IT. Agencies will have tough choices to make, and we hope they and their congressional funding partners will look long term to choose the spending items that keep government operating efficiently and serving citizens effectively.
We are already hearing about delays in systems that are attributed to funding questions. As we are determining our political priorities, surely we can agree on one: Political disagreements should not be allowed to waste taxpayers' money.