Legislation Introduced to Prevent Government Shutdowns

January 17, 2019 2:05 PM , Updated January 27, 2019 9:18 AM
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Legislation was introduced in the Senate this week that is designed to prevent government shutdowns from ever happening in the first place.

The Government Shutdown Prevention Act (S. 147) was introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). It aims to prevent government shutdowns by keeping the government open but instituting a one-percent cut to then-current funding levels for any agency, program, and activity that Congress failed to fund by the start of the fiscal year (October 1). Funding would be reduced by another one percent every 90 days thereafter that an agreement is still not enacted.

The one percent reductions would be the “hammer that would force Congress to do its job,” said Paul, adding that Congress currently faces no consequences for failing to pass appropriations bills on time, something that has led to an increased of shutdowns due to impasses.

“They [Congress] have no motivation to avoid gridlock,” said Paul. “No matter where one stands on the debate over government spending, we should all be able to agree that Congress needs to handle Americans’ money thoughtfully and hit its deadlines. The Government Shutdown Prevention Act would take a major step forward toward bringing basic fiscal responsibility to Capitol Hill.”

Paul has introduced the bill in past sessions of Congress.

Similar legislation was recently introduced in the current Senate by Rob Portman (R-OH). It would implement a similar strategy by using an automatic continuing resolution that gradually makes reductions to overall spending.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.