As a potential government shutdown looms on the horizon, U.S. Sen. Katie Britt on Wednesday announced her support of the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, a new bill that would automatically appropriate government funding in rolling 14-day periods. The bill would also require lawmakers to remain in Washington, D.C. until a new spending package is adopted.
“The American people are tired of seeing critical government services being held hostage while Congress irresponsibly pushes to pass massive spending bills at the last minute,” Britt said Wednesday in a statement. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to keep paying the price for this budgetary political brinksmanship.”
Congress is expected to pass an annual spending package by the end of each fiscal year by Sept. 30. As of Wednesday, however, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has backed off a previous agreement with President Joe Biden on a 2025 budget of roughly $1.6 trillion, instead pushing for $1.4 trillion in order to appease a group of hard-right House Republicans.
With Democrats strongly opposing the proposed spending cuts, which include cuts to the IRS, the education budget and more, the prospects of a government shutdown on Sept. 30 continue to grow stronger.
Sponsored by U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-OK, the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act would prevent all future government shutdowns due to budget disagreements, as, in the event of lawmakers being unable to reach an agreement on spending, an automatic 14-day spending package – based on the previous fiscal year spending – would be triggered.
The temporary spending package would continue to be re-triggered every 14 days until lawmakers adopt a budget for the next fiscal year. Additionally, members of Congress would be prohibited from using government funds for travel during this period, and Congress would be required to hold daily legislative sessions, including on weekends, until a new budget is adopted.
“This commonsense bill would ensure we have a fail-safe mechanism in place that will take these drastic options off the table, so members of the Senate and the House have time to draft the best bills possible in a transparent, accountable, and judicious manner,” Britt said.
In addition to Britt, the bill is co-sponsored by 12 other senators, which include two independents, one Democrat and nine Republicans.
A separate but similar bill introduced by Britt, along with five other senators, was the No Budget, No Pay Act, that would see members of Congress not receive pay in the event of a budget not being adopted by the end of the fiscal year, with pay resuming once a budget is passed.
“Our national debt is an economic and security crisis that threatens the future of our children and our children’s children,” Britt said in a statement. “Ending deficit spending starts with returning to regular order. This bill is a simple yet effective way to incentivize Congress to do just that: no budget, no paycheck.”
The bill would also prohibit retroactive pay to members of Congress, and is different from a 2013 bill of the same name, which while similar, was a temporary pause on Congressional salaries for just that year.
Government shutdowns have become more frequent in recent years, with three of the nation’s ten total shutdowns happening within the last decade, including the 2018-19 35-day shutdown, the longest and costliest U.S. government shutdown in history.