Mark Trahant: Tribes need a Plan B in case of federal shutdown

"Is there a Plan B?

That is the question tribes, Indian organizations and government agencies should be asking -- and answering because it looks more and more likely there will be a federal government shutdown early next month.

Why is this a concern now? Congress did not pass a budget for this fiscal year. Instead, the government is operating on a temporary spending law called a Continuing Resolution, an authorization that expires March 4. That measure essentially allows the government to spend money based on the prior year’s budget. But Republicans want deep budget cuts. So last week the House passed a Continuing Resolution that would last the rest of the year, but cutting some $60 billion from this year’s spending.

“It is my intent – and that of my Committee – that this CR legislation will be the first of many appropriations bills this year that will significantly reduce federal spending,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said in a news release. “It is important that we complete the legislative process on this bill before March 4th -- when the current funding measure expires – to avoid a government-wide shutdown and so that we can begin our regular budgetary work for this year.”

March 4 represents a huge game of chicken. (However there may be a few accounting tricks ahead that would keep the government operating beyond March 4.) But this game is far from a sport because the only certain loser is Americans across the country who rely on the federal government. "

Get the Story:
What is ‘Plan B’ for tribes if there is a federal government shutdown? (Mark Trahant 2/21)

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Budget for Indian programs mostly a lost cause (2/15)
Mark Trahant: The Indian Health Service and state budget shortage (2/7)
Mark Trahant: Protecting the budget for Indian Country programs (1/31)
Mark Trahant: The sky doesn't have to fall on Indian health budget (1/24)
Mark Trahant: Real fight over health care reform all about funding (1/17)
Mark Trahant: Finding a way to a more civil discourse in America (1/10)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care a GOP target in the new Congress (1/3)
Mark Trahant: A new standard for the federal-tribal relationship (12/20)
Mark Trahant: Asking President Obama about Indian health care (12/13)

Join the Conversation