A group of conservative Senators on Friday introduced legislation to permanently keep the federal government open and prevent future shutdowns. The End Government Shutdowns would automatically create continually resolutions, which continues funding agencies even when politicians are debating on the budget.
The bill is sponsored by Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who has introduced the legislation every year since he was elected to the Senate in 2010, Deseret News reported. Sens. Steve Daines (MT), Mike Lee (UT), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Chuck Grassley (IA), Johnny Isakson (GA), Mike Enzi (WY), John Barrasso (WY), and Jim Risch (ID) have all signed onto the bill.
The reason the bill has come forward is simple: Portman wants lawmakers to create budgets while discouraging "last-minute, haphazard stopgap" measures, like continuing resolutions.
"This legislation will accomplish that goal, providing lawmakers with more time to reach a responsible resolution to budget negotiations, giving federal workers and their families more stability, and ensuring we avoid disruptions that ultimately hurt our economy, taxpayers and working families," Portman said in a statement.
"And it provides stability and predictability without allowing Congress to pat ourselves on the back for averting a self-made crisis," Lee said. "Shutdowns create instability and unpredictability not only in government, but also for many families and businesses that interact with the federal government. Shutdowns are not a responsible way to govern."
The bill would automatically create continuing resolutions for those regular appropriation bills that are not approved of by Oct 1. After the first 120 days, the funding would be reduced by one percent. It would then be reduced by one percent again every 90 days Congress fails to pass a spending bill.
The current government shutdown is the longest shutdown in U.S. history, with more than 800,000 federal government workers furloughed or working without pay.