Roy Gilbert

Shutdown’s permanent collateral damage

Happy (fiscal) New Year! The good news is that Congress and the White House last week agreed to defer any government shutdown until Nov. 21. The not-so-good news — you knew this was coming, right — is that having postponed the shutdown threat by not getting its basic job done, Congress immediately left town for its eighth break of the year, with four more to come. The Senate calls them “state work periods.” The reason for the new shutdown decision deadline is that senators and representatives havn’t approved appropriations to keep all federal agencies operating after Oct. 1. The House had approved some, the Senate hadn’t approved any. One reason may be their frequent and generous timeouts. Many private sector workers envy, or bristle at what they think is a generous civil service benefit package. But Congress puts that, and most others, to shame. Here’s the work and nonwork schedule announced by the Senate in January: Jan. 3 Convene Jan. 8 Reconvene Jan. 21 – 25 state work period Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) Feb. 18 – 22 state work period Presidents’ Day (Feb. 18) March 18 – 22 state work period April 15 – 26 state work period May 27 – May 31 state work period Memorial Day (May 27) July 1 – 5 state work period Independence Day (July 4) Aug. 5 – Sept. 6 state work period Labor Day (Sept. 2) Sept. 30 – Oct. 14 state work period Columbus Day (Oct. 14) Nov […]

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