“You know running the government with a two-month budget -- you know, try to run a business, try to hire people, try to do capital spending, try and figure out how you're going to use innovation. It's no matter what you think about what the government budget should be, doing it the way we're doing it is absolutely insane,” Gates said during an appearance on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria: Global Public Square” on Feb. 3.
Zakaria said to Gates, “But when you look at Washington and you look at the political gridlock, you must get very depressed.”
Gates responded, “Yes, I'm not expert on politics, and I know the country's faced many challenges in the last several hundred years, and somehow democracy's been self-correcting; that is, eventually democracy has -- particularly in the U.S. -- always found its way there.”
Gates called the government “terribly inefficient.”
“Every bad thing you can say about government gets worse when it's on these short-term, unknown, future processes,” he said.
Because Congress repeatedly has failed in its duty to pass 12 annual appropriations bills, the government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions, which hold discretionary spending at current levels.
The latest six-month CR passed Congress in September and expires at the end of March.
The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires the president to submit his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year by the first Monday in February. However, President Obama, for the fourth time in five years, missed that deadline just yesterday.
Although House Republicans have passed a budget each year, the Senate has not done so since 2009 when Democrats also controlled the House.
Congress's failure to produce a budget resolution reflects the partisan gridlock in Washington and leaves the nation in limbo.
According to the House Budget Committee, a budget resolution is a central part of the budget process, representing an agreement between the House and Senate that establishes budget priorities, and sets the agenda for all subsequent budgetary actions.