A group of nine Republican Senators just filed a bill aimed to end government shutdowns forever, starting with President Trump’s ongoing and soon-to-be-longest-in-history border wall shutdown.
The End Government Shutdowns Act would automatically fund the government if appropriations bills are not passed on time by October 1st, but reduce funding levels by 1% every 90 days if Congress can’t finish passing its funding bills.
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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.”
“Shutdowns don’t work. Yet we’re seeing them happen time and time again,” Sen. Daines said in a press release. “The End Government Shutdowns Act will hold Congress accountable to funding the government and ensure that hardworking folks aren’t paying the price for the partisan, political games being played in DC.”
Having a group of nine Republican Senators who want to finally put an end to their party’s frequent extortion tactic of shutting down government represents a major break inside the Republican Party’s three-vote Senate majority.
GOP leader McConnell has stubbornly stymied all attempts at voting on government reopening legislation passed by the body just last month, dutifully enabling the President’s disgraceful border wall tantrum.
It’s ironic that Republicans are proposing to kill shutdowns forever, since it has been their weapon of choice for nearly forty years. Enabled by a 1980 decision by Pres. Jimmy Carter’s Attorney General, it was Republican President Ronald Reagan who began the political tactic of using the veto to shut down large parts of the government when he didn’t get his way. Even then, critics accurately pointed out that government shutdowns cost more money than Republicans fight about.
But it was Republican ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich who turned the government shutdown into the GOP’s political weapon of choice, beginning in 1990 and continuing through the Clinton presidency, which was when the GOP set the previous record of a 21-day stoppage of payments.
Republicans revived Gingrich’s politics of extortion after the Tea Party election of 2010 and since then have used both the archaic economy-destabilizing “debt ceiling” and the government shutdown as their twin tools of extortion.
As the 38-year history of the government shutdown demonstrates amply, it’s nothing but a Republican Party weapon of mass extortion.
If this Senate GOP-sponsored End Government Shutdowns Act passes, it would represent a sharp rebuke to the Republican Party’s political extortionists and provide a small silver lining for weary and frustrated American federal workers, who still see no light at the end of this dark and stupid tunnel.