Early this morning, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill into law that ended a federal government shutdown that spanned 16 days and raised the nation’s debt ceiling. The new bill funds the federal government through January 15, 2014 and extends the country’s debt limit until February 7, 2014.
While we all breathe another sigh of relief that the government shutdown was averted, again, we know this is only short-term. There is no victory here, for either party or for any branch of government. We got through another deadline, but didn’t solve any of the big challenges facing our nation.
Our elected officials in Washington need to develop a long-term strategic budget by working together. If they need a lesson in how this is done, they can see the example of local governments across this nation who cannot play these games, but must solve the problems impacting their communities.
This go-round had Los Angeles County a few short weeks away from not being able to provide those most in need with the basic necessities of food and shelter. These are people who are struggling to make ends meet and feed their families in an economy which has still not recovered. It is my hope that in the next few months, we will see more courage from leaders in Washington to put partisan grandstanding aside and do the tough work of negotiation and problem-solving so that we don’t face this situation yet again in January.