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Senators Lankford, Hassan Introduce the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today introduced the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act, a bipartisan Senate proposal to address the threat of government shutdowns. The bill is fairly simple. If all appropriations bills are not passed by both houses and signed by the President by October 1, no official travel will be allowed for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) leadership or staff, Cabinet members, or Senators and Representatives along with their committee and personal staffs (except for official travel within the DC metro area). 

“Oklahomans and people around the country have asked for a solution to end government shutdowns that puts the punishment for failing to appropriate funds on the House, Senate, and White House, not our federal families,” said Lankford. “Americans have suggested that simply cutting Member pay would help prevent or quickly end shutdowns. I believe the real way to punish Washington dysfunction is to prevent Congress, the White House, and relevant staff from leaving until the job is done. Preventing travel and holding mandatory roll call votes ensures the negotiators remain at the table until the job is done, while the automatic funding mechanism ensures federal employees are paid and prevents the waste of tax dollars that comes from shutting down and re-opening the government. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill, and I look forward to its full consideration in the Senate.”

“It is the height of irresponsibility that government shutdowns are becoming a frequent occurrence, and we need to come together across party lines to end this madness,” Hassan said. “Our bipartisan bill would prevent future shutdowns by providing automatic funding to keep the government’s doors from closing and forcing members of Congress to do their jobs and remain in Washington until a funding agreement is reached. Ending shutdowns is common-sense, and I’m glad to be working with Senator Lankford on this important issue.”

Bill Highlights

During a period of lapsed appropriations, there will be:

  • No taxpayer-funded travel allowances for official business (except one flight to return to Washington DC) for the following:
    • White House OMB staff and leadership
    • White House Cabinet Members
    • Members of the House and Senate
    • Committee and personal staff of the House and Senate
    • Official travel permitted within the national capital region (DC metro)
  • No CODEL or STAFFDEL delegation travel
  • No travel reimbursement (meals, per diem, or any type, including for state staff)
  • No use of campaign funds by congressional offices to supplement official duties or travel expenses
  • No other votes made in order in the House and Senate unless they pertain to passage of the appropriations bills or mandatory quorum calls in the Senate
  • No motions to recess or adjourn the Senate or House in order for more than 23 hours
  • A waiver process for these restrictions in the House or Senate if they meet a two-third majority vote threshold in each chamber
  • Implementation of an automatic continuing resolution (CR) on October 1 at last year’s spending levels until passage of a law to appropriate all remaining lapsed spending for that fiscal year
  • A required recorded quorum call vote each day at noon in the House and Senate to confirm attendance, which keeps Members in town for mandatory votes

Lankford served on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, where he worked to develop reforms to our federal budget and spending processes. Lankford also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management and the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, Senator Hassan is committed to working across party lines to maintain fiscal responsibility and improve innovation and efficiency within government.