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This page was last updated on January 06, 2009 .

Who Shuts Down the Government?
by: Larry Walker, 20/29/99

Well folks, to paraphrase one of my unfavorite Presidents, "There they go again!"  Congress has now passed their third "continuing resolution" due to their inability to send an Interior Appropriations Bill (and several other appropriation bills) to the President that he is willing to sign (largely due to something like 58 anti-environmental riders). We may, or may not, end up with some kind of partial government shutdown before this annual madness is over. During my career as a federal employee, I had the honor of being "nonessential personnel" during several shutdowns ranging from 1 day to 1 month.

When a shutdown does occur, the press then goes on a feeding frenzy over who was at fault - the Congress or the President. The Sunday Morning Gasbags have a field day with interviews, analysis, and commentary over this alleged mystery that apparently defies all efforts to resolve the question - when it is really a classic "no-brainer".

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution for the United States of America specifically reserves to Congress the power to pay debts! Congress has the responsibility to either submit an appropriations bill that the President will sign, or have the votes to override a Presidential veto (Article I Section 7 Clause 3). There is no "the chicken or the egg" argument here, it is as clear as black and white. Any time we have a government shutdown due to lack of an appropriation act, it is the fault of Congress.