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Column - June 13, 2013

Statement

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Date:
Location: Unknown

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times -- Washington is broken. If the last few weeks of the Administration's scandals aren't example enough of a lack of leadership, look no further than the appropriations process of Congress. As you know, appropriation is a fancy term for spending money. Congress must appropriate money to fund priorities like national defense, agriculture, transportation and other government programs.

The way it works here in Washington is that if the House, Senate, and the President cannot reach a consensus on the spending bills for the fiscal year, we must pass what I call "Band-aid" legislation called a Continuing Resolution, or a CR. A CR is basically a shorter-term spending bill that usually covers 30 to 90 days of spending and delays the inevitable fight on another long term spending bill.

Government cannot continue to operate this way. The American people expect more from us than kicking the can down the road every time a big problem presents itself. Well I'm telling you now; we're running out of road for that can. We must stand up and no longer be afraid to tackle the tough issues.

I learned this problem firsthand when I came to Congress in 2011. We were debating funding for our nation's air-traffic control system, which was going on its nineteenth CR, spanning a period of several years. Because of this piecemeal approach, our nation was not able to upgrade its air-traffic equipment from the old 1950s technology to the new satellite technology to improve safety and congestion. This is just one glaring example of why legislating incrementally holds back both the nation and private sector companies that bid on federal projects. Those private companies are not able to make long-term hiring and expansion decisions if they do not have certainty from the federal government.

I am currently working on several measures in Congress, including a farm bill and a Water Resources Development Act. Creating long-term transportation legislation allows the construction industry to plan for the future and hire a workforce that will help meet America's crucial need for infrastructure. Passing long-term agriculture legislation provides farmers across the country the stability they need to foster the viability of our rural communities.

Every day in Congress, I am fighting to create certainty so that our job creators can feel comfortable expanding, hiring, and rebuilding the American economy. I'd like to hear your opinions about the need for long-term appropriations and certainty from Congress. Please email me at repbob.gibbs@mail.house.gov or call my office in Ashland at (419) 207-0650.


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