Lankford-Hassan Legislation to End Government Shutdowns Passed Out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in June
WASHINGTON – Following the release of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) subcommittee report on how the last three government shutdowns have negatively impacted everything from the economy to national security, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and James Lankford (R-OK) highlighted the need for Congress to pass their bipartisan legislation to end government shutdowns.
“The cost of a government shutdown falls squarely on the shoulders of the American taxpayer, and threatens both our national security and economy,” said Senator Hassan, Ranking Member of HSGAC’s Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management. “Congress must pass our bipartisan Prevent Government Shutdowns Act without delay so that hard-working Americans do not bear the burden of Washington’s dysfunction.”
“Shutting down the government is an ineffective and costly way to fail to govern,” said Senator Lankford. “In the past few decades, we have endured 21 government shutdowns. Earlier this year, we faced the longest shutdown—or slowdown—in American history, which ultimately wasted significant taxpayer dollars and time. This report summarizes a simple point: shutdowns ultimately hurt the American people and federal families. The Prevent Government Shutdowns Act is a simple solution that ends all future shutdowns by keeping the government functioning when Congress fails to pass appropriations bills, holds federal workers and the American people harmless, and forces Members of Congress and OMB to stay in DC until we finish appropriations. Let’s pass the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, and make sure the longest shutdown was the last shutdown.”
The report, The True Cost of Government Shutdowns, found that the last three shutdowns cost the American taxpayers $3.7 billion in back pay to furloughed federal workers. It also demonstrated the shutdowns’ impact on national security, including the suspension of some criminal and civil investigations and a delay in facility maintenance at the Department of Homeland Security that endangered the lives of law enforcement. Government shutdowns also furloughed Federal Aviation Administration aircraft inspectors, prevented the Small Business Administration from administering loans to small businesses owners, and kept the National Parks Service from maintaining America’s protected natural landscape.
Senator Hassan and Lankford’s Prevent Government Shutdowns Act is a simple, bipartisan proposal that would address the threat of government shutdowns once and for all. If all appropriations bills are not passed by both chambers and signed by the President by the beginning of the next fiscal year, an automatic continuing appropriation will kick in. During that time, Congress would be forced to remain in Washington and pass appropriations bills: official travel will not be allowed for Senators, Representatives and key administration staff, daily recorded votes would be required in both chambers of Congress, and Congress could not consider other measures beyond appropriations bills until a funding measure is passed. HSGAC passed the bill on a bipartisan basis earlier this summer.