Washington's shutdown limits boaters' recreate opportunities
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Posted by: Larry Innis
Federal government has shutdown, and Democratic and Republican leaders
are not bending in their discussions on how to achieve fiscal
responsibility. Concern is deepening in financial markets, and among
businessmen, about the potential for a U.S. default of its debt.In just
one day this week interest rates rose, making it twice as expensive for
the federal government to borrow short term.
The key to the blockage of extension of the debt ceiling is a strategy
of using the federal budget to dismantle the president’s health care
law, commonly known as Obamacare. This has also slowed progress for
approval of federal appropriations for the new fiscal year.
It is clear no one wins from this battle. However, it is clear that
small business and concessionaires on federal properties are losing.
Access to federal lakes and parks has been closed, denying boaters and
anglers their ability to recreate. In addition, hunting season on
federal properties should be opening across the nation, but access may
be denied there too. Reacting to pressure, the House of Representatives
has approved 11 bills along Party lines to partially fund favorite
causes, but the Senate has refused to consider them, opting instead for a
Continuing Resolution that would fund the entire government.
So What’s Next? With barely a week to go until the next big deadline,
when the federal government runs the risk of not being able to pay its
bills and its debt obligations, Congress appears to be preparing for
several more days of partisan posturing—with no signs of negotiations to
solve the fiscal crises.
The Senate and House continue down separate legislative paths. The
House is expected to continue to pass a series of small spending plans
to fund popular government programs daring the Senate to reject these
funding bills.The shutdown has greatly reduced committee staff so most
hearings have been cancelled. The Senate has given no indication of
taking up any of these bills.The Senate is drafting legislation to give
the Treasury Department more flexibility to borrow without specifically
breaching the debt limit law. The Senate Democrats want a "clean” debt
extension bill raising the limit by $1 trillion.
MRAA will continue to watch these efforts closely, and will continue to
advocate Congress open lakes, reservoirs and lands important to boating
and fishing recreation.