SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee is among a group of Senate Republicans who introduced a bill Friday to permanently prevent government shutdowns.
The End Government Shutdowns Act would create an automatic continuing resolution for any regular appropriations bill or existing continuing resolution, keeping the federal government open when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has proposed the measure in every Congress since being elected in 2010. Lee has supported it in the past.
Lee said in a news release that Portman's bill 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," said Lee, who has long urged lawmakers to consider separate appropriations bills on specific items.
Shutdowns create instability and unpredictability not only in government, but also for many families and businesses that interact with the federal government,” he said.
“Shutdowns are not a responsible way to govern," Lee said.
The bill creates an automatic continuing resolution for any regular appropriations bill not completed by the Oct. 1 deadline. After the first 120 days, the funding would be reduced by 1 percent and would be reduced by 1 percent again every 90 days Congress fails to pass a spending bill.
In 2013, Lee and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, led the unsuccessful GOP effort in Congress to stop Obamacare by refusing to pass a budget bill that included funding for it. The impasse shut down the federal government for more than two weeks.
In addition to Lee, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, signed on to Portman's bill.