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GOP senators introduce legislation to prevent future government shutdowns


Sen. Mike Lee, who co-sponsored the bill, said that shutdowns 'are not a responsible way to govern'

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Nine Republican senators have introduced legislation that would prevent government shutdowns from happening in the future.

What are the details?

After failing to reach a budget deal, the U.S. government partially shut down on Dec. 22. President Donald Trump has declared that he won't sign any spending bill that does not include funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, but so far Congress has refused to comply.

On Friday, the shutdown tied with one during the Clinton administration for the longest in U.S. history. Since both the Senate and the House have recessed until Monday, that tie is guaranteed to be broken.

On Friday, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced a bill to prevent shutdowns from ever happening again. It was co-sponsored by GOP Sens. Johnny Isakson (Ga.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Lee (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Jim Risch (Idaho).

This legislation would automatically create a continuing resolution, in order to keep the government funded at the same level as it was before the deadline to pass a spending bill. This funding would drop by one percent after 120 days, and then by another one percent every 90 days after that, "until Congress does its job and completes the annual appropriations process."

At that rate, it would take nearly 25 years before the government received absolutely no funding like it is right now.

Has this legislation been introduced before?

This isn't the first time Portman and Isakson have introduced such legislation. According to Isakson, the two have co-sponsored similar legislation "each Congress since 2012." Portman also introduced it in 2010 and 2011.

"Shutdowns are not a responsible way to govern. They create instability and unpredictability not only in our government, but also for the many families and businesses that interact with the federal government," Lee said in a statement sent by his office to TheBlaze. "Sen. Portman's End Government Shutdowns Act strikes a necessary balance between incentivizing good budgeting habits while discouraging last-minute, haphazard stopgap funding measures. And it provides stability and predictability without allowing Congress to pat ourselves on the back for averting a self-made crisis."

"It costs money to shut down the government and it costs more money to reopen it. When the government shuts down, Americans are deprived of essential services and their tax dollars are needlessly wasted," Grassley said in a news release from his office. "Shutdowns also erode the trust between citizens and their government. This legislation would help ensure that policy stalemates and political interests would no longer get in the way of government's duty to serve the American people."

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