Performance Review

Next week, (Friday, to be specific) the Congress is due to pass appropriations for next year (a fiscal year that begins October 1). They have had a year to prepare a budget (never completed), argue over it (still going on, and little of it public), and actually PASS appropriations for the next Fiscal Year.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. __ Article I, Section 9, US Constitution

To be clear about the history of the Fiscal Year, here’s an outtake:

The fiscal year is the accounting period of the federal government. It begins on
October 1 and ends on September 30 of the next calendar year. Each fiscal year is
identified by the calendar year in which it ends and commonly is referred to as “FY.” For
example, FY2003 began October 1, 2002, and ends September 30, 2003. For more
information on budget process, see http://www.crs.gov/products/guides/guidehome.shtml.
Initially, the federal fiscal year coincided with the calendar year. In 1842, President
John Tyler signed legislation changing the fiscal year to a July 1 to June 30 cycle.
Beginning with FY1977, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Section 501 of P.L. 93-
344, currently codified at 31 U.S.C. 1102) changed the fiscal year to its current cycle. In
both instances, the intent was to provide Congress with more time to process
appropriations legislation, particularly to avoid continuing resolutions. Establishing the
most appropriate budget cycle continues to be the subject of some legislative proposals
that would change the current fiscal year to a biennial (two-year) period.
__ House Rules.

I lived through the last change to the Fiscal Year … when Congress had a “free” quarter (from July 1 to September 30, 1976), they packed ALL SORTS of spending into a few months.

But now … Congress’ most pressing duty is to appropriate funds so that it’s Government can continue October 1.  Within every corporation of America, workers are reviewed as to what they produced during the year. Under Sarbanes-Oxley (really confusing), CEOs and CFOs have to certify the accuracy of their annual statements and

  • All significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls which could adversely affect the issuer’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data and have identified for the issuer’s auditors any material weaknesses in internal controls; and
  • Any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the issuer’s internal controls …

But Congress is not subject to its own rules.

I suppose that Congress could be judged by the number of Post Offices named after citizens, by the number of ball teams commended for their contribution to American society, or the number of studies funded to review sexual behavior among chimpanzees or bees. But the overwhelming responsibility of a Congresscritter is to create and pass about a dozen appropriations to fund everything that the government does. Meanwhile … some detail might be necessary … “a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of ALL public Money shall be published … ” [emphasis added].

New appropriations are due in a week. It is very simple: if your Congresscritter has passed (or even voted against) all the appropriations bills by Friday, he/she has done his/her job … if not, he/she deserves to be fired.

Fortunately, November 2nd provides a wonderful opportunity for The People … YOU ARE THE BOSS OF CONGRESS! … judge your well-payed employees on their performance. If there is nothing but a “continuing resolution” by Friday … or even thirty days later … Congresscritters have not done the job they are elected and paid (at more than twice what an average American earns) to do. Vote against ANY incumbent.

We Americans everywhere work hard. If we do our jobs, we generally stay employed. If we can’t get a year-long project (that used to take six months) done on time, we’ll probably get fired. If our company’s Board (read__Congress) spends too much money, borrows too much money, or just makes really poor decisions, we’ll get laid off.

If you think your Congresscritter just a wonderful person, vote ’em back in.  If he or she cannot do his or her job … or cost you yours … fire ’em! It’s just a performance review.