Time to put an end to U.S. government shutdowns

first_imgEach time, we debate who’s responsible: which party is the formal cause of it, which is being less reasonable in budget negotiations.Maybe it’s time instead to debate doing away with the possibility of shutdowns.RELATED: Latest on end of government shutdownThere’s no law of nature that requires the federal government to run at partial capacity when Congress and the president can’t agree on a budget bill.Long ago Congress could have passed, and a president could have signed, a law stipulating how the government would operate in case of such a disagreement.Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has tried for years to enact such a law.During the last shutdown, in 2013, he got a floor vote on an amendment for an “automatic continuing resolution.” Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe U.S. has had four partial shutdowns of the federal government in the last 25 years. The point would be to avoid shutdowns.The threat of shutdowns has not proven an effective way to force timely political agreements over the budget.Shutdowns aren’t even effective in getting Congress to enact reforms – be they the abolition of Obamacare that Republicans sought in 2013 or the amnesty for illegal immigrants brought here as minors that Democrats want now.Shutdowns serve no good purpose.So let’s resolve to get rid of them.Ramesh Ponnuru, a Bloomberg View columnist, is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes If no appropriations bill were signed into law, the affected programs would keep running at their existing spending levels for the next 120 days.If no bill had passed by then, spending would be cut by 1 percent. Another 1 percent cut would be made every 90 days after that.The amendment was defeated on a nearly party-line vote, with Portman’s fellow Republicans supportive and the Democrats opposed. Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Maryland Democrat who at the time ran the Appropriations Committee, made two main arguments against the idea.The real solution to shutdowns, according to the former senator, was not to change the budget rules but to agree on time to appropriations bills.She added that Portman’s idea was not just unnecessary but dangerous.It would be “draconian” to let those 1 percent cuts compound.The first argument does not make sense on its own. The amendment concerned what should happen in case of a failure to agree on time.But it makes more sense in light of the second argument.Put the two together, and you can see how the amendment would shift fiscal politics in a Republican direction.If it were in place, the most conservative Republicans would have an incentive to keep appropriations bills from passing on time so that they could see the automatic cuts happen.That’s an argument for tweaking Portman’s idea.Congress could set a different default rule for what happens when there’s no agreement on budget bills.Maybe it’s one that keeps spending flat, or keeps it growing at the average pace of the previous few years.last_img read more


Town shows no signs of wilting

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UK office rental growth predicted to plunge over next five years

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How to… Get ahead in the race for real-time management information

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Double vision

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Corporate paranoia vs draconian planning

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Jermyn follows Green with 34% NAV rise

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An olive branch from English Heritage

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Unpad offers online courses for students in China amid COVID-19 outbreak

first_imgThe Indonesian literature department of Padjadjaran University (Unpad) in Bandung, West Java started streaming lectures on Tuesday for Chinese students trapped in their home country due to the government’s travel ban to and from China.The government has imposed a travel restriction on air travel to and from China since Feb. 3 amid the COVID-19 outbreak – a disease caused by the novel coronavirus.“The travel ban hinders Chinese students from coming back to Unpad. Meanwhile, the university started the semester on Monday, “department head Lina Meilinawati said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com. She added that 72 Chinese students were enrolled in the Indonesian for Foreign Language Speakers (BIPA) degree program. The one-year program started in September last year.During the year-end semester break, 23 students had returned to China.Read also: Nearly 100 foreigners denied entry to Bali amid China’s coronavirus travel banLina went on to say that the online lectures would facilitate students of Indonesian language and culture as well as those in the Mandarin program.  Students can attend classes by watching the lectures and reading course material in the form of e-books. “They are also allowed to submit assignments through email,” Lina saidThe online classes will run until the government lifts the travel ban. Unpad’s international office head, Ronny, said the university would also facilitate the return of Indonesian students in China as part of its student exchange program.“We will facilitate their return to Indonesia after coordinating with relevant authorities,” he said. (gis)Topics :last_img read more


Raucous Democratic debate yields no clear challenger to Sanders

first_imgDemocratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst).Usage: 0 (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)Bernie Sanders Sanders was the object of much of the evening’s hand-wringing. Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar tried to sound the alarm, arguing that with the self-avowed democratic socialist Sanders as the nominee, the party had little hope of unseating President Donald Trump in November.Sometimes the senator from Vermont, who leads the delegate count in the primary, took the pounding in stride. Sometimes he didn’t, such as when he sparred with a member of the audience who booed one of his answers, or engaged in a lengthy shouting match with Buttigieg. The stakes could not have been higher at the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday, with the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday contests looming in the week ahead.Most candidates on the stage in Charleston, South Carolina, shared a common goal: stalling Senator Bernie Sanders’ march toward the nomination. As they battled to emerge as the alternative to Sanders, the rivals appeared to have a collective sense that, for at least some of them, time was running out.Here’s a look at how the seven candidates on stage fared: Sanders also seemed to acknowledge that parts of his record are potential liabilities. He called his past support for legislation protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits “a bad vote” but pushed back on accusations that he would be sympathetic to authoritarian regimes in places such as China and Iran.Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks with members of the audience at the conclusion of the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )Joe Biden The debate was crucially important for Biden, who needs a victory in South Carolina on Saturday to re-assert his claim as the best chance to counter Sanders. For the most part, the former vice president delivered a steady performance, playing up his long record in politics and talking about his work on guns and passing the Violence Against Women Act.“Progressive,” he said, “is getting things done.”The free-wheeling debate format, in which candidates routinely exceeded their time and talked out of turn, sometimes kept Biden on the sidelines for long periods of time, leaving him increasingly exasperated.Even so, Biden likely accomplished the goal of trying to assure South Carolina voters he remains a leading option.Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst).Usage: 0 (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)Elizabeth Warren After disappointing finishes in the first three early voting states, the senator from Massachusetts was looking to build on her assertive debate performance a week ago in Las Vegas. The results in Charleston were more mixed.Warren finally took the fight directly to Sanders, as many of her supporters have urged. “I would make a better president than Bernie,” she said.But she again aimed most of her fire at Bloomberg, to the point where at times it seemed she was more intent on making sure the billionaire New Yorker and former Republican does not end up the nominee than making the case for herself.“The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him,” said Warren, herself a former Republican.Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)Michael Bloomberg It was a comeback of sorts for Bloomberg, who received blistering reviews for his debut presidential debate performance a week ago.The attention on Sanders gave Bloomberg more room to discuss his record as mayor of New York and try to establish himself as his moderate foil ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3, when the billionaire businessman’s name will appear on ballots for the first time.Bloomberg also emphasized the millions he has spent on behalf of Democratic congressional candidates and gun control.At one point, under attack from Warren for his past support of Republicans, Bloomberg finally seemed to give up trying to assert his liberal bona fides. Instead, he turned pragmatic.“I’m the one choice that makes some sense,” he said. “I have the experience. I have the resources. And I have the record.”Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg smiles during and interview in the spin room after the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Randall Hill)Pete Buttigieg No candidate on stage appeared more intent on drawing a contrast with Sanders than Buttigieg, who time and again re-stated what he called the stakes for the Democratic Party.The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, worried aloud about the cost of Sanders’ domestic agenda and warned that Russia was trying to sow “chaos.” He said a Sanders-Trump matchup would divide and exhaust the nation.African Americans make up two-thirds of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, and with his low support from those voters leaving little hope of scoring high in the state, Buttigieg must hope his steady debate performance translates into an infusion of quick cash to keep his campaign afloat past Super Tuesday.Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar participates in the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota, and Steyer, a California billionaire, largely appeared to be afterthoughts for most of the evening. Almost a half hour passed at the start of the debate before Klobuchar spoke. Steyer often had to battle to grab the moderators’ attention.Both tried to present themselves as reasonable alternatives to Sanders.Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate billionaire activist Tom Steyer speaks during the tenth Democratic 2020 presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., February 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)Like Buttigieg, Klobuchar draws little support from black voters, and she is already looking past South Carolina to Super Tuesday with the hopes that winning her home state will keep her alive.Steyer is looking for a top-three finish in South Carolina, though he said after the debate he had the resources to stay in the race longer.Topics :last_img read more