As Shutdown Continues, Portman, Senate Colleagues Introduce Bill to Permanently End Government Shutdowns

January 11, 2019 | Press Releases

End Government Shutdowns Act Will Keep Government Running When Budget Negotiations Falter Before Key Spending Deadlines 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today introduced legislation – the End Government Shutdowns Act – that will 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 measure 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.  

“It’s disappointing that both sides didn’t resolve this matter weeks ago.  Shutdowns inevitably costs taxpayers more money once the government reopens. I hope that both parties come together and reach an agreement that brings a resolution to this issue as quickly as possible,” Portman said. “Moving forward, we should end government shutdowns for good.  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.” 

“It costs money to shut down the government and it costs more money to reopen it. When the government shuts down, Americans are deprived of essential services and their tax dollars are needlessly wasted. Shutdowns also erode the trust between citizens and their government. This legislation would help ensure that policy stalemates and political interests would no longer get in the way of government’s duty to serve the American people. It would also create additional certainty and confidence in the government’s ability to function on behalf of the citizens it serves,” Grassley said. 

“Shutdowns don’t work. Yet we’re seeing them happen time and time again,” Daines said. “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.”    

“It is wrong to continue the constant threat of a government shutdown, and Americans should expect their government to function and budget responsibly,” said Isakson. “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." 

“Shutting down the government disrupts lives both inside and outside the government,” Enzi said. “We could avoid future shutdowns altogether if Congress would pass the End Government Shutdowns Act.” 

“Shutting down the government, even partially, never benefits anyone,” said Barrasso. “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.” 

“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,” said Risch. 

“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,” Lee said. “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.” 

“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,” said Senator Murkowski. “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.” 

NOTE: The End Government Shutdowns Act will create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill not completed by the October 1 deadline.  After the first 120 days, CR funding will be reduced by one percent and would be reduced by one percent again every 90 days thereafter until Congress does its job and completes the annual appropriations process.  Portman has introduced this legislation in every Congress since he was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010. 

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