Rob Portman’s Plan to End Government Shutdown Showdowns

Revives bill to provide automatic continuing resolutions

Sen. Rob Portman wants to end the threat of federal funding lapsing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Rob Portman wants to end the threat of federal funding lapsing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 24, 2017 at 12:37pm

With the risk of a government shutdown at week’s end, Sen. Rob Portman is making another attempt at ending such threats once and for all.

The Ohio Republican, who led the Office of Management and Budget in the last GOP White House, will be reintroducing legislation that he has spearheaded since arriving in the Senate in 2011 that would provide for automatic continuing resolutions when Congress fails to advance appropriations bills before fiscal year funding deadlines.

“Almost everybody hates government shutdowns. They don’t accomplish anything. They don’t get our fiscal house in order and they disrupt critical government programs that have a big impact on people’s lives,” Portman said in a statement provided to Roll Call ahead of the Senate reconvening Monday.

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Portman has several Republican senators supporting his effort, a group that isn’t always ideologically aligned on spending.

Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are joining as original co-sponsors, according to Portman’s office.

The bill would provide automatic, flat-line continuing appropriations for 120 days, followed by further continuing spending with a one-percent reduction every 90 days after that.

Portman rejects the idea that shutdown showdowns are good places to conduct negotiations on spending or policy.

“As leverage in a political negotiation, they’re fool’s gold. We should end government shutdowns for good,” Portman said. “My legislation would do that, giving federal workers and their families more stability, providing lawmakers with more time to make smarter decisions for taxpayers, and ensuring we avoid disruptions that ultimately hurt our economy and working families.”