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American Opinion - On federal appropriations bills:

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

From The Associated Press

On federal appropriations bills:

Each January when Congress returns to Washington it really has only one duty: Pass the 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government for the coming fiscal year.

In theory the bills would be passed and signed by the president by Oct. 1, the start of the government's new year. Rarely does it happen, and it's not going to happen again this year.

To buy time while it wrestles with the spending bills, Congress typically passes a continuing resolution that authorizes government agencies to temporarily continue spending, usually at current levels. Congress is currently at work on such a stopgap measure to push off dealing with the appropriations bills until after the election.

But the Obama White House has complicated matters by asking the Democrats to add $20 billion or so to the bill, including money for schools, the Postal Service, child care grants to settle lawsuits against the Agriculture and Interior departments and to address a backlog of Social Security disability claims.

Whatever its merits, this spending should be addressed as part of the regular appropriations process. If Congress runs true to form, the stopgap bill will be replaced by an omnibus spending bill that wraps up all the unpassed appropriations measures into a single huge and untidy money bill that is a magnet for earmarks.

It would all be so much simpler if Congress would do its work on time.

-- The Commercial Appeal,

Memphis, Tenn.