In the midst of a partial government shutdown, U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today joined his colleagues in reintroducing legislation that would permanently prevent future federal government shutdowns.
Congress has repeatedly failed to pass the 12 annual spending bills on time and has frequently resorted to passing sweeping “omnibus” bills to avoid shutting down the government. Since 1980, Congress has only twice completed the entire appropriations process before October 1, the first day of each fiscal year. The End Government Shutdowns Act, S.104, would help end these haphazard, last-minute budget agreements that threaten our economy and unnecessarily harm taxpaying Americans.
“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.”
The End Government Shutdowns Act was reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who has introduced the legislation each Congress since 2012, with Isakson’s continued support.
Specifically, the End Government Shutdowns Act would automatically continue funding for discretionary programs for which a budget has not been enacted by the Oct. 1 deadline each fiscal year. After the first 120 days past the Oct. 1 deadline, if the government has yet to enact spending bills, the budget for each program, project or activity affected would be reduced by 1 percent. The funding would again be reduced by 1 percent every 90 days thereafter until Congress does its job and completes the annual appropriations process.
The End Government Shutdowns Act would ensure:
· No more government shutdowns, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars and create chaos for servicemembers and veterans, federal employees and contractors, and citizens who depend on federal services;
· Stability and predictability for government agencies, which will be able to plan their budgets based on a default appropriations level;
· Less incentive for haphazard, last-minute budget deals;
· A realistic deadline of January each fiscal year to complete the appropriations bills before funding levels change;
· Greater restraint in government by maintaining and gradually reducing funding when Congress does not act; and
· Equal treatment for all discretionary spending, with no exceptions for partisan spending priorities, keeping members of both political parties eager to reach a final agreement.
In addition to Isakson, the legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Lisa Murkowsi, R-Alaska, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho.