Stalemates have consequences

March 16, 2011

By Andy Sullivan

Could you imagine General Electric operating for six months without knowing how much money it has to spend? That’s the situation the U.S. government finds itself in as Congress still hasn’t settled on a budget for the fiscal year that started last October.

While Republicans and Democrats argue over $50 billion in proposed cuts, the effects of the stalemate are being felt around the globe. Airport control towers go unstaffed, scientific research goes unfunded and fighter jets are grounded.  

Lawmakers have extended last year’s budget during the stalemate, an approach that keeps the government’s lights on but limits its ability to move forward with new projects. Agencies, unsure of how much money they’ll get in the end, are sitting on the funds they do have.

Though the budget debate is mired in the arcana of congressional procedure, its impact is becoming increasingly clear. To find out more, see our special report “On borrowed time: US budget delays start to hurt.”

You can read it in multimedia PDF format here.

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