Ending Government Shutdowns Altogether Gains Currency Among Congressional Leaders from Both Parties

January 28, 2019 | Portman Difference

Stopping government shutdowns in the future is gaining currency among members of Congress on both sides.  Earlier this month, Senator Portman introduced the End Government Shutdowns Act to permanently prevent the federal government from shutting down, ensuring that essential government services aren’t disrupted and protecting taxpayers who must bear the resulting cost. The legislation will create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill or existing CR, keeping the federal government open when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines. This was the 5th time Portman has introduced the legislation to permanently prevent government shutdowns, and he made clear he will strongly push for its inclusion in any final government funding bill over the next few weeks.  

Here is what congressional leaders are saying: 

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):  ”The final package should also end government shutdowns once and for all."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “[Former Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI)] had a bill that I’m hoping we might be able to put forward. And what that bill said is that if you do not, on any appropriations bill, I’m not talking about the omnibus or minibus, any appropriations bill that does not get agreed upon within a timely fashion by the date, you automatically go into a CR until you do.” 

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “Now that the shutdown is over, we should roll up our sleeves and make sure it never happens again.”  

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN): We accepted the idea that shutting down the government is an acceptable bargaining chip in a budget negotiation and it should never, ever be, and we should resolve that that should never, ever happen.”  

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT): “Shutdowns don’t work. Yet we’re seeing them happen time and time again. The End Government Shutdowns Act will hold Congress accountable to funding the government and ensure that hardworking folks aren’t paying the price for the partisan, political games being played in DC.”    

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “It is wrong to continue the constant threat of a government shutdown, and Americans should expect their government to function and budget responsibly. Too often, last-minute omnibus bills do little to address out-of-control spending, while shutdowns cut off essential federal government services and force Americans to bear the burden of Congress' dysfunction. This is the one proposal in Washington that will work to end these irresponsible shutdowns that harm Georgians and Americans.” 

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY): “Shutting down the government disrupts lives both inside and outside the government. We could avoid future shutdowns altogether if Congress would pass the End Government Shutdowns Act.” 

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY): “Shutting down the government, even partially, never benefits anyone. Americans shouldn’t have to suffer uncertainty or go without a paycheck because Congress failed to fund the government. This legislation will help put an end to unnecessary shutdowns in the future.” 

Senator James Risch (R-ID): “Shutting down the government is the complete opposite of what we were elected to do - govern. I have cosponsored this legislation year after year and hope we can finally move it forward. Real people with real problems get caught in the balance of government shutdowns and we need to act for them and for the sake of government efficiency. I would prefer to see a smaller and less intrusive government than what we have, but regardless it needs to operate.” 

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): “Shutdowns are not a responsible way to govern. They create instability and unpredictability not only in our government, but also for the many families and businesses that interact with the federal government. Sen. Portman’s End Government Shutdowns Act strikes a necessary balance between incentivizing good budgeting habits while discouraging last-minute, haphazard stopgap funding measures. And it provides stability and predictability without allowing Congress to pat ourselves on the back for averting a self-made crisis.” 

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “The ripple effect of a government shutdown has consequences for all Alaskans-- most directly on the thousands of federal employees and tens of thousands more that rely on our federal agencies. This legislation permanently ends government shutdowns with a commonsense solution to avoid a funding lapse, ensuring the jobs and livelihoods of federal workers and contractors are not held hostage during political disputes. For the sake of our federal employees, their families, and our nation, I’m proud to support the End Government Shutdowns Act.” 

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA): “The final language in any deal that comes out three weeks from now should put strong provisions and strong penalties in place to prevent this tactic from being used by either party or any White House or Congress in the future.”