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That old, familiar feeling

September 26, 2013

With budget battles leading to government shutdown worries and a debt ceiling debate looming, concerns with how the government will continue to function are returning to the front page.

We’ve been here before. The gist of the issue is the Republican majority in the House disagrees with the Democrat majority in the Senate over how to fund the government for the coming fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2014). To give themselves a bit more time, they’re putting forth a continuing resolution, which is essentially a stopgap to fund the government for a few weeks or months until a broader agreement can be reached.

But with Republicans passing a continuing resolution defunding the Affordable Care Act – arguably Obama’s signature accomplishment – they’ve put forth a bill with no chance of passing the Senate or being signed by the president.

The Senate is working on passing its version of the continuing resolution. Unless the House signs on to it, the threat of the government shutting down on Oct. 1 becomes a reality. If this occurs, OSHA’s workforce would be reduced to a fraction of its current size, stalling the development of needed regulations, and ceasing the vast majority of enforcement and educational activities.

It boggles my mind that year after year, Congress paints itself into a corner. I certainly respect members of Congress “sticking to their guns” when it comes to certain issues, but sometimes compromise is necessary and a bitter pill must be swallowed for the greater good.

Otherwise, the worst happens and no one wins.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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