Congress Should Pass The STOP STUPIDITY Act
Lawmakers often strain to come with names for their proposals to create a memorable acronym, and they often go too far. But in the case of Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Waner, his STOP STUPIDITY Act is right on the money. The bill, which is similar to Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s End Government Shutdowns Act, is meant to preclude any shutdown of the federal government over policy disputes. STUPIDITY stands for Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The coming Years. Strained? Sure. But stupidity aptly describes closing large parts of the government for 35 days over a border security political dispute, endangering public safety, unfairly affecting the finances of 800,000 government workers and costing the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $11 billion in lost economic activity, $3 billion of which never will be recovered. Now President Donald Trump, unchastened by the disaster he unleashed in forcing the most recent shutdown, promises a new one unless Congress acquiesces by Feb. 15 to his demand for $5.7 billion to begin construction of a wall on the southwest border. Either that, said the president, or he will declare an emergency to unilaterally begin wall construction. Doing so would redefine the word, “emergency,” which applies to an immediate crisis rather than to the renewal of a political impasse three weeks distant. Both bills would require the government to continue operating under terms of the most recent appropriations bills if a new bill isn’t passed on time. Congress should be smart, rather than stupid, and pass such a measure by veto-proof margins in both houses.