GOP Senators Looking To Introduce Bill To End Government Shutdowns Permanently

A demonstrator holds a sign protesting the government shutdown at the James V. Hansen Federal Building
Natalie Behring / Getty Images

The latest partial government shutdown has been going for almost three weeks already, and people across the country are feeling the brunt of it. Nearly a million federal employees have been sent home on furlough, or forced to work without pay. The result is hundreds of thousands of people unsure when they will next receive a paycheck, and unsure how they are going to be able to feed their families.

U.S. President Donald Trump has already stated that he is prepared to allow this shutdown to continue for months or even years, until he is able to get what he wants from congressional Democrats: $5 billion to build his border wall. As soon as it hits midnight tonight, this shutdown will officially be the longest in U.S. history, and there appears to be no end in sight as the president and Democrats aren’t exactly making headway on negotiations.

Now it appears that even his own party have decided the practice of government shutdowns takes too big a toll on the country and the many innocent workers who have no part in the funding negotiations. According to a report by CBS News, GOP senators are looking to bring in new legislation that will bring a permanent end to shutdowns.

They proposed the new bill, The “End Government Shutdowns Act,” on Friday.

The current procedure is that if a government funding bill is not passed by a previously determined deadline, the departments and agencies affected by the funding shuts down until an agreement is reached. But the new bill proposes a very different process that will not affect the federal employees so negatively.

Senators are proposing that the often-invoked continuing resolution (CR) that comes into play to delay the deadline be “automatically created” when funding negotiations have stalled, allowing workers to continue their jobs and be paid for it while officials further debate funding measures in Congress.

“CR funding would be reduced by 1 percent after 120 days, and would be reduced by another 1 percent every 90 days until Congress does its job and completes the annual appropriations process,” according to the release announcing the bill.

Republican senators behind this bill include Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Lee of Utah, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Rob Portman of Ohio has been proposing such a measure ever since he took his seat back in 2010, and released a statement about the bill along with Friday’s announcement.

“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.”