Burning Our Resources and Wasting our Time

John Teichert, Candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Last week, Congress continued its endless cycle of political dysfunction by passing yet another continuing resolution (CR). Passing a CR, though, is a sad and all-too-common euphemism for something dangerous and insidious – simply failing to do their jobs. 

For 13 of the last 14 years, Congress has failed to pass a budget on time. While they engulf themselves in endless squabbles over ancillary issues, they systematically overlook this core Constitutional responsibility. Each time they fail to pass a budget, they make our country less stable, less secure, and less sustainable. As the base commander of Joint Base Andrews and Edwards Air Force Base, I would be fired for such negligence. As a father and a husband, I would be shamed for such incompetence and malfeasance. Yet, these politicians enjoy the security of their incumbency, oblivious to their dereliction of duty.

The congressional hypocrisy is on full display in this budgetary debacle. While members of the legislative branch love to exercise their oversight responsibilities on Executive Branch members who fail to do their jobs, the members of the House and the Senate regularly fail to do their own jobs with no accountability. The Congressional Budget Act highlights this issue in a stark and stunning fashion. Congress requires that the Executive Branch provide the next year’s budget in early February. That means that next week the president will dutifully deliver his budget to Congress, however misguided it may be, while we are four months into a fiscal year without a budget and with no end in sight to the chain of damaging continuing resolutions. Next year’s budget will be stacked for consideration on top of this year’s budget. It would be pure comedy if the impacts were not so tragic.

The costs of such budgetary incompetence are real and significant. For the DoD budget alone, a long-term continuing resolution results in $48B of lost buying power, meaning that the DoD will get $48B less this year than their budget would otherwise allow because of the wasteful short-term decisions that are required as a part of a CR. Some have described it as if Congress put the money in a trash can “poured lighter fluid on it, and burned it.” This analogy doesn’t provide a pretty picture to the taxpayers, nor to a nation that faces real threats.

During a continuing resolution, the military is unable to start new programs to respond to or prepare for a world that is growing more dangerous. Thus, our defense strategy stagnates. It is happening now, and it has happened for large portions of the previous years. Each time, a communist-controlled China surpasses us in some areas and catches up to us in others, unencumbered by a system characterized by Congressional sabotage. As the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General C.Q. Brown has said: “time is irrecoverable, and when you are working to keep pace against well-resourced and focused competitors, time matters.” Unfortunately, politicians are squandering ours without regard to our interests and their oath.

We need leaders to wrestle this process and our nation back to where it belongs. Leaders abide by constraints, overcome obstacles, understand requirements, respect the need for urgency and gravity, and seek opportunities for collaboration to achieve their mission. Politicians dither while money burns, squandering time and our nation’s safety and security. We must drive out politicians and embrace leaders to rescue our nation before it is too late.

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  1. al green on January 31, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    No argument, the house and senate really need to get their shit together, as well as fix the DOD contracting regulations; they drove my wife crazy for years. The system (both civilian and DOD are money pits). Governing is not an all or nothing game; both sides need to work together.
    One thing I never understood is, we fought 2 wars for what 10 plus years, and cut taxes, hello is there anyone home, I mean the lights are on. I also think that banning lobbyists, and dark money, and over turning Citizens United would be a good start. While I don’t think it’s doable, requiring a social security number to contribute to a political party or campaign. And ban all money from, corporations, trade associations, unions, PAC’s (527’s), churches (all denominations that pay no taxes).

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