A key senator on budgetary and federal workforce issues has renewed his push for legislation to prevent future partial government shutdowns, with another deadline to keep agencies funded coming up on December 20.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who sits on both the Appropriations Committee and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is urging enactment of his bill (S-1877) to automatically provide continued funding if such a deadline passes. The bill further would pressure political leaders to continue working to resolve the deadlock by generally ending reimbursement for any travel by a member of Congress or senior Executive Branch official and preventing Congress from considering any legislation other than a bill to end a shutdown until one passes.
Lankford included shutdowns in releasing his latest annual report on wasteful spending, citing the Governmental Affairs Committee’s recent finding that the three most recent shutdowns cost at least $4 billion and 57,000 federal employee workyears, not counting several of the largest departments that were unable to quantify the impact. Federal employees “should be left harmless throughout the tumultuous, noisy, and partisan process of government funding. They should not have to go through exceptionally painful times because of a lack of compromise from their elected leaders,” he said.
Several other bills with similar aims also are pending in Congress.
Meanwhile, a bill (S-2919) has been introduced in the Senate to encourage financial institutions to provide special considerations to federal employees affected by a shutdown. A similar bill (HR-2290) already has passed the House.