ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - As the shutdown of the federal government ties for the longest in U.S. history, a group of Republican senators, including senior Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, are proposing a bill that would permanently prevent shutdowns of this kind from ever happening again.
The bill, called the End Government Shutdowns Act, was introduced Friday by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mike Lee (R-UT).
According to them, the bill will "permanently prevent the federal government from shutting down, ensuring that essential government services aren’t disrupted and protecting taxpayers who must bear the resulting cost."
The bill was promoted back to attention due to the current shutdown, which began overfunds for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, for which President Donald Trump wants $5 billion included in the spending budget to pay for. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats opposed this.
The shutdown has impacted thousands of federal employees and their families, as many are working furloughed or without pay, including here in Alaska.
In a statement Friday, Murkowski said of the shutdown: “The ripple effect of a government shutdown has consequences for all Alaskans-- most directly on the thousands of federal employees and tens of thousands more that rely on our federal agencies."
“This legislation permanently ends government shutdowns with a commonsense solution to avoid a funding lapse, ensuring the jobs and livelihoods of federal workers and contractors are not held hostage during political disputes," she said. "For the sake of our federal employees, their families, and our nation, I’m proud to support the End Government Shutdowns Act.”
Ohio Sen. Portman has introduced this legislation in every Congress since he was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010, but with this new support and in light of the continuing turmoil of the shutdown, this year it could be realized.
The End Government Shutdowns Act will create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill not completed by the October 1 deadline, according to to the Senate news release.
From there, after the first 120 days, CR funding will be "reduced by one percent and would be reduced by one percent again every 90 days thereafter until Congress does its job and completes the annual appropriations process."