EDITORIAL: Spend political capital on federal budget

2013-09-20T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Spend political capital on federal budget nwitimes.com
September 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It's great to see bipartisan cooperation in support of the Great Lakes improvements, and not just because of the lakes.

The lakes vital to the economic and physical health of the Great Lakes region -- through providing drinking water and facilitating commerce and recreation, among other attributes.

The Great Lakes require protection, and Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress have fought for federal funding for that purpose. 

When a House subcommittee attempted this summer to cut 80 percent of the funding for President Barack Obama's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Republican freshman David Joyce of Ohio got most of next year's money restored. Congressmen from neighboring states are joining the fight to get the rest of the money restored or even increased.

The lakes supply drinking water for more than 30 million people, and they generate some $62 billion in wages each year. They are an environmental and economic powerhouse.

It is no wonder that Republicans and Democrats alike are quick to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects to fight invasive species like Asian carp, restoring wetlands and cleaning up pollution.

The bipartisan cooperation in Congress on this issue offers hope that bipartisan cooperation is possible on other major issues facing the nation.

The current squabbles over funding health care reform have erupted into a feud over the federal budget.

Under this broken system, a series of continuing resolutions have kept government functioning, but that's a poor way to govern. It extends previous priorities rather than current aims.

But, once again, there's discussion of doing even worse than that. Some in Congress would rather shut down the government than compromise on federal spending.

It would be irresponsible to shut down the government. Even the prospect of a shutdown fuels disgust with Congress at a time when respect for that institution is already in the sub-basement.

A bicameral system, such as the two houses of Congress, requires compromise, particularly when the House and Senate are controlled by different parties, as is the case now.

The bipartisan spirit extended toward protecting the Great Lakes needs to be shown toward the federal budget as well.

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