Posted by: SWL | April 8, 2011

Are the People Being Represented in Budget Negotiations?

As I watch the news of a possible government shutdown from Washington this afternoon, I have seen many Senators and Representatives speaking with the media. Asked about the specifics of a budget deal, a couple of them have said, “I don’t know; I’m not in the room” and “I can’t say since I’m not part of the negotiations.”

Who is negotiating the federal budget? It is not being debated or negotiated in either chamber of Congress. It concerns me that only a handful of people are deciding the direction of federal spending. During press conferences after last night’s “emergency” meeting at the White House, at least one mention was made of “staff” working through the night. We might be surprised – or distressed – at how much legislative work is done, and even decisions made, by staffers.

Polls show that the American people want this budget matter settled. Partisan bickering is already keeping the will of the people from being done generally. And the fact that not all members of Congress can voice the views of their constituents guarantees that the specifics of whatever bill finally emerges will not represent the will of the people either.

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