U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement on the start of the federal government's new fiscal year today:
"Today marks the start of a new fiscal year for the federal government -- by which time the Congress is supposed to have completed its work to provide every federal agency with an approved budget to perform their missions, ensuring the nation's security and providing essential services to the American people for next 12 months. Sadly, this day marks the 15th consecutive year that the Congress has failed in this duty.
"For 15 years now, the government's fiscal year has started off with a Continuing Resolution, or 'CR' -- an arcane legislative vehicle that avoids a shut down, but restricts the government to funding levels set the previous year. Essentially, a CR relegates the government's activities to a holding pattern that ignores current events and new priorities, and produces inefficiencies and costs through delay of essential programs and missions. We in Congress cannot rationally expect the Executive Branch to operate more efficiently when we can't agree on a federal budget and complete our work in a timely manner on the basic bills required for the government to operate each year.
"It is difficult to understand why Congress this year decided to punt the ball even further, by adopting a six-month CR that will extend through March 2013. Instead of providing funding stability, as claimed by the proponents of a longer-term temporary funding bill, this latest CR jeopardizes critical national security programs by delaying for six months planned funding for the development of a new air refueling tanker for the Air Force, delivery of F-35 Lightning aircraft, and the readiness of the Navy's aircraft carriers. By passing a six-month CR, Congress apparently expects the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to do a full year's work in less than six months. Meanwhile, Congress can't get six months of work done in an entire year.
"For the sake of our country's fiscal health, Congress needs to start doing its job. We need to review and approve annual federal budgets -- and that requires the President to submit a budget request that reflects economic and fiscal reality, not partisan politics. It is no coincidence that the devastating explosion in federal spending over the last four years, resulting in a national debt that has soared to a staggering $16 trillion, has been aided and abetted by Congress' failure to pass a budget resolution for the last three years. While the House has passed its version of a federal budget each of these years, the Senate has abrogated this fundamental responsibility -- the same responsibility that ordinary Americans and every level of state and local government undertake -- to assess available resources and make hard decisions on spending to ensure their households and governments do not sink into unfathomable depths of debt. The failure of Congress to fulfill its budget responsibilities is a national disgrace.
"Congress must return to regular order, where budgets and spending bills are debated, amended, and approved before the first of October every year. The appropriation bills for national security accounts must be guided by the passage of a National Defense Authorization bill that sets funding parameters and establishes policy guidance for the Department of Defense. For the sake of our economy and security, and to meet our obligations to future generations, we simply cannot afford business as usual."