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Another possible shutdown looms: Congress has until Friday to OK spending bill

Three continuing resolutions this fiscal year have kept the government afloat, but have cost Pentagon billions.

WASHINGTON — For Congress, the clock is ticking once again. For the fourth time since October 1 and for the last 12 out of 13 fiscal years, another possible financial catastrophe looms.

More than five months into this fiscal year, lawmakers need to pass an FY'22 funding bill of some kind by the end of this week to avoid a partial government shutdown on March 11.

The fix invariably is a Continuing Resolution and practically never is it an on-time, proper, year-long appropriations bill.

"If you wanted to pick an inefficient way of running government, Congress has decided Continuing Resolutions are a way to make everyone look foolish," said Old Dominion University Economics Professor Bob McNab.

McNab said temporary spending bills do great harm to the region's economy and to the individual businesses which rely upon steady, dependable federal funding, like defense contractors.

The short-term bills have allowed the government to remain open but funded under the previous year's spending levels.

"Every few weeks, you have a minor crisis. People get in front of the camera, they decry the deficit, they decry the debt," he said. "And yet, they don't take the concerted action to actually change things. We just limp along as if that's the way things ought to be done."

McNab said kicking the can down the road will cost the military a pretty penny. He said with federal funding frozen, combined with inflation, the Pentagon could lose $50 to $70 million in purchasing power.

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