It’s time to shut down all future government shutdowns
BY REPS. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-ILL.) AND PAUL MITCHELL (R-MICH.), OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 02/07/19 08:25 AM EST
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL
We just came through a 35-day partial government shutdown that impacted millions of Americans, hurt our economy, and harmed our world standing.
This was the most recent – and longest – of any government shutdown. We may see another in less than two weeks if Congress and the president can’t find a compromise on border security funding.
This is no way to run a railroad, much less our nation’s government. That is why we introduced bipartisan legislation reinforcing Congress’ commitment to prevent future government shutdowns and protect those affected by them.
Let’s quickly review the consequences of the government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25:
- Approximately 800,000 federal workers went without a paycheck for more than a month, creating financial instability for their families;
- Thousands of government contractors also went without pay. Unlike federal employees, they may never be compensated for their loss;
- Millions of Americans who rely on critical government services saw federal programs and facilities shuttered for weeks;
- Our nation’s air travel system was severely strained, with long lines at security checkpoints and curtailment of flights on the East Coast;
- Our economy suffered a loss of $11 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Three billion of which will never be recouped;
- And maybe worst of all, faith in our government suffered another heavy blow, and fewer Americans may pursue public service with the threat of future shutdowns hanging over their heads.
One of Congress’ most fundamental duties is to fund the government and keep the lights on. When the appropriations process is not completed on time, government employees, their families, the economy, and our nation as a whole suffer the consequences. These situations can only be avoided if all involved parties negotiate in good faith and find a compromise.
That’s why we introduced a bipartisan House resolution calling on Congress to amend the United States Code to prevent any future lapse in appropriations, and to permanently end government shutdowns. Our resolution reinforces Congress’ commitment to preventing government shutdowns so no Americans — including federal employees, contractors, and those who depend on critical government services – have to suffer the consequences of future shutdowns.
It’s well past time to end the practice of holding hostage millions of workers and taxpayers as a strategy for achieving political ends. Surely, our nation’s Founders never imagined repeatedly shutting down the government they created would become the norm.
We urge the leadership of both parties to quickly schedule our resolution for consideration. Only by such action, taken early in this new Congress, can we demonstrate a bipartisan commitment to preventing future shutdowns from harming our citizens, our workers and our economy ever again.
PC: Greg Nash