A transition challenge: We have no money

Congress' failure to pass appropriations bills will be a factor in the transition to a new administration.

The failure of Congress to pass appropriations bills will be a factor in the transition to a new administration that begins later this year. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) raised that issue at the close of a Senate hearing May 22 when he addressed Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.“I don’t want to have the last word, but one thing that bugs me about this place big time is the issue of continuing resolutions and omnibus appropriations bills,” Voinovich said. “Mr. Johnson, this is your last year. Each of you can give stories, I’m sure, about what’s occurred because we don’t pass our appropriations on time. It looks like this time around, from everything I’ve seen, that we may not do the appropriations until after the next president is elected and until that next president is sworn in, which means it could be February.“I just think, Mr. Johnson, it would be wonderful if, as a gift to the country, this administration would talk about how difficult it is to manage a situation where you really don’t know what your budget is for the first five months of the fiscal year. I don’t believe we can continue to do this, and from our oversight position, if you have this kind of procedure, it’s an excuse for some people to say, ‘We can’t perform. We didn’t know really what the numbers were for five months. We’ve got plans. If money’s appropriated, we can go forward, but it hasn’t been appropriated yet.’ I know I’ve been doing some work on it, and it’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for the federal government, it’s a nightmare for state government, it’s a nightmare for county government, it’s a nightmare for city government, as a mayor, because of the federal budget and the impact that it has.“I just would really like, Mr. Johnson, for you to talk about that because I think you would do this country a great favor if you pointed out to the American people that this system that we have been following really doesn’t lend itself to good management and delivering the services that the public and citizens deserve.”What do you think? Send a letter to letters@fcw.com with the subject line “Transition challenge.”