Years ago I submitted a suggestion that both state and federal budgets, after being finalized by both the respective parties, be presented to the public to decide through general referendums. This would eliminate impasses and battles over the process in Congress. And the people who pay those budgets with tax dollars should be given the right to decide, anyway. We may end up with having to accept the opposite parties' budget, but at least it would keep the government running. If my suggestion had been adopted, I don't think we'd be in this mess. Another possibility -- at least have an automatic reversion back to the previous year's budget when there is a stalemate. Anything but a shutdown.