Bills Introduced to End All Government Shutdowns

While it seems the fate of this shutdown will be determined by Congressional leadership and the White House, other members of Congress are working to ensure these shutdowns never happen again. Several lawmakers have introduced bills that would prevent further government shutdowns in the event of appropriations lapses.

Both Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) have introduced legislation to the 116th Congress that would automatically trigger a continuing resolution if Congress failed to pass a budget before the October 1 fiscal year deadline.

Senator Portman’s legislation, dubbed the End Government Shutdowns Act, has been introduced to every Congress since 2012.

The End Government Shutdowns Act would impose a 120 day continuing resolution when Congress fails to pass a spending bill. If a spending bill is still not passed following this period, the budget for each program, project, or activity affected would be reduced by 1 percent. The 1 percent deduction would be taken every 90 days until an appropriations deal is met.

Senator Portman told the Journal-News, “What it would really do is to force Congress to do its work earlier and come up with individual spending bills — there are 14 different spending bills we’re supposed to do — that have not only the spending but the reforms of government programs… My hope is that we can avoid these shutdowns.”

Senator Rand Paul also hopes to avoid shutdowns with the Government Shutdown Prevention Act. Paul’s legislation mirrors Portman’s legislation in terms of the 1 percent budget deductions taken after each 90 days of failed appropriations. It does not, however, call for a 120 day continuing resolution before the deductions begin.

Senator Paul explained in a video announcing the bill’s introduction, “Congress doesn’t face any consequences for failing to pass the spending bills on time. They have no motivation to avoid gridlock… [Under the Government Shutdown Prevention Act] every 90 days if Congress fails to pass appropriations bills, we would reduce [the budget] by 1 more percent, that would be the hammer that would force Congress to do its job. It would also provide more certainty to federal agencies who, at worst-case scenario, would have a full year of money at no less than 96 percent of their current funding level.”

Senator Paul’s legislation has two cosponsors, while Senator Portman’s has 10. All cosponsors for both bills are Republicans.

Posted in From the Hill

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