U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today voted to avoid a complete shutdown of the federal government, as he supported legislation that cuts $12 billion from the federal government, while also funding the Department of Defense for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. The bill, H.R. 1363, passed with a bipartisan majority, 247-181.
"Today's vote was an overdue opportunity to fund the Department of Defense, and our men and women in uniform, for the rest of this year," said Hultgren. "Just as importantly, we cut an additional $12 billion from the federal budget, part of our larger effort to restore America to fiscal health. I'm also pleased that today's bill provided funding for government operations for one more week, giving the Senate an opportunity to agree to a long-term funding measure for the rest of this year."
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. Failure by the Senate to pass the bill will lead to a shutdown of government operations. The looming shutdown stems from the failure of the previous Congress to pass a budget for this fiscal year, forcing the current Congress to pass multiple extensions to keep government running, with the latest expiring tomorrow.
"The previous congress was not able to complete its most fundamental task, pass a budget," said Hultgren. "Now we are addressing the work that should have been done last year. I hope that the Senate, which has spent the last 47 days politicking and dithering rather than governing, passes today's bill quickly.
"Despite the ongoing negotiations, it is also important that we begin to consider the impacts of a government shutdown," said Hultgren. "It is unclear what will happen if there is a shutdown, so our best course of action is to look at the consequences from the shutdowns in 1995 and 1996."
Some of the possible outcomes from a shutdown of the federal government include:
· A minimum of 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed
· All national parks, museums and monuments will be closed
· Processing of visas and passport requests will be stopped
· New patients will not accepted into clinical trials at the National Instutitutes of Health
· CDC will cease disease surveillance
· Work on bankruptcy cases will be suspended
· Recruitment of federal law-enforcement officials will be cancelled
· Veterans affairs programs funded through the appropriations process (and not directly related to inpatient and emergency outpatient health care) will also be affected
· IRS will delay processing of paper returns and providing refunds for paper returns
· New applicants for social security will experience delays in processing
· Active members of the military will serve without pay
It is anticipated that the following services will not be interrupted:
· Postal Service
· Programs like Social Security and Medicare will continue to operate
· Border security will be maintained
· The military would still have the authority and the ability to continue key national security activities
· The federal court system would continue running for about 10 working days, using non-appropriated funds such as filing fees
· Flight traffic controllers and TSA employees will continue to work
"We are working tirelessly and we can find a compromise as long as we don't turn our backs on our principals," said Hultgren. "There are no winners if the federal government shuts down, and I feel I was sent Washington D.C. to reform our government. I can't do that if it shuts down."