If you had any doubt that our national leaders are more concerned about preserving their jobs than with preserving our Republic, Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) End Government Shutdowns Act should quickly dispel those doubts. Portman, joined by Senators Tester (D-MT), Barrasso (R-WY), Boozman (R-AR), Coats (R-IN), Cornyn (R-TX), Enzi (R-WY), Hoeven (R-ND), Lee (R-UT) and McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill today that will attempt to insulate the Senate from the consequences of its inability to pass a budget.
“Despite repeated signs that Washington’s out-of-control spending threatens to bankrupt the country, Washington continues to be deadlocked about the budget debate. Although Congress continually fails to pass appropriations bills by the October 1st deadline, we should not force Americans to face the threat of government shutdown hanging over their heads. Our legislation ensures the federal government continues to provide the necessary services to its citizens while protecting against the panic and pressure of last-minute budget deals, allowing Congress to make the decisions necessary to get Washington’s fiscal house back in order…
“…The End Government Shutdowns Act creates an automatic continuing resolution for any regular appropriations bill not completed by October 1. After the first 120 days, CR funding would be reduced by 1 percentage point, and would continue to be reduced by that margin every 90 days. Similar to H.R. 3583, authored by Rep. Lankford (R-OK), this bill gives Congress until January until the first automatic cuts would occur, rather than implementing them on October 1.” [emphasis added]
So instead of having another very public battle resulting from wild, runaway spending without the restraints of a functional budget, members of the Senate fled to their bunkers and opted for self-preservation. They agreed that it would be better to postpone the fight until after the election, kicking the can down the road for whoever comes out alive.
The Hill notes that “[t]he bill stands in stark contrast to the tactics of the Newt Gingrich House in the 1990s which actively sought shutdown scenarios to try to get government spending under control” but adds that “it could boost Portman’s image as a voice of reason capable of bipartisan deal-making. Portman is a contender for the GOP vice presidential nomination this year.”
Well, as long as this is good for the GOP brand and Portman’s VP prospects, this is a great piece of legislation.
The reality is that we ought to be readying crates of tea to toss into the Potomac over this.