Introduction xxi example, they should (ideally) pass the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022 in April 2021, in order to cover spending for October 1, 2021 through September 2022. When the Committees can’t agree on funding priorities, they have the option of passing a continuing resolution (CR) to ensure con- tinued funding while they negotiate and pass the appropriations bills. Although CRs are designed for short-term use, they are, in practice, often enacted to fund several months’ spending or combined to fund an entire year’s spending. Unfortunately, CRs have become the norm rather than the exception. In fact, Congress’s failure to perform this essential function served as the impetus for this book. Through initial research it began to look like we were paying for an appropriations process that Congress wasn’t using, which prompted the question: what is the cost to taxpayers? Finally, in Chapter Seven, we tally the score: we gather the results and discoveries from the other chapters and connect the dots to develop a com- prehensive picture of the Legislative Branch and its cost to taxpayers. We speculate on the implications of our findings and consider ways in which taxpayers and researchers might advance these relationships with Congress and its partners. Throughout this book, we have included quotes from those familiar with the institutions and processes. They generously shared their insights and experiences, trivia that surprised us, historic and contemporary photos, and links and references to interesting websites and books that supported our investigations. This has been a fascinating fact-finding mission. We hope you enjoy it, and that it encourages you to learn more about and engage with those who represent you and to vote in the general and Congressional elections every two years. Finally, we hope this book encourages you to start asking similar questions to your state and local representatives, and to hold them account- able to those they represent.
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