A government shutdown is not the way to resolve budget issues and only creates uncertainty for the American people, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Enzi co-sponsored bipartisan legislation today to prevent bloated, last-minute budget deals and the threat of an immediate end of government services, like not being able to send Social Security checks to those who need them. Enzi said the bill would force Congress to follow its own procedures for determining how to fund the federal government.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced the End Government Shutdowns Act, S.3434, which would create an automatic continuing resolution for any regular appropriations bill that is not passed, preventing lapses in government payments that would cause a government shutdown. Congress has failed to pass its regular appropriations bills by the October 1 deadline since 1997 and has only succeeded twice since 1985. By preventing an automatic government shutdown, the legislation would prevent large, omnibus spending bills that have become commonplace in recent years and lead to increased spending.
"When Congress ignores its own rules and procedures to accept a rushed spending agreement, all that is created is an environment of unpredictability and a massive bill with massive spending," said Enzi. "We're at the point where addressing our debt crisis should trump political considerations. Instead of coming together to figure out how to get our spending under control today, the Majority is forcing us to wait until after the November elections when we will be threatened with a government shutdown. Many members feel forced to support whatever comes to the table, no matter how unacceptable and unpalatable it may be."
The Portman bill would automatically extend government funding at the current level for 120 days and reduce funding by one percent every 90 days until Congress acts on appropriations bills. By removing the threat of a shutdown, Congress can work on a good product instead of huge omnibus bills, said Enzi.
"When you stop the destructive behavior, you create an environment where government can operate on budget and on time." Enzi said.
U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., also cosponsored the legislation.