WASHINGTON — Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined Senator James Lankford (R-OK) in cosponsoring bipartisan legislation called the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act of 2023, which would take government shutdowns off the table and force Congress to stay in town until their work is done.
“Shutdowns don’t accomplish anything,” said Senator Tuberville. “Where I come from, you stay at work until you get the job done. Congress should be forced to stay in DC until we pass a responsible, fiscally-conservative budget.”
The Prevent Government Shutdowns Act is supported by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, America First Policy Institute, and Americans for Tax Reform.
The Prevent Government Shutdowns Act would require all Members of Congress to stay in Washington and work until spending bills are completed. The bill would prevent a government-wide shutdown and continue critical services while Congress completes the legally required appropriations process.
In the event of a lapse in government funding, the bill would implement an automatic continuing resolution (CR), on rolling 14-day extensions, based on the most current spending levels enacted in the previous fiscal year. This would prevent a shutdown and continue critical services and operations. During the covered period of an automatic CR, the following restrictions are put in place:
- No taxpayer-funded travel allowances for official business (except one flight to return to Washington, DC) for the following:
- Members of the House and Senate
- Committee and personal staff of the House and Senate
- White House OMB staff and leadership
- No official funds may be used for CODEL or STAFFDEL travel
- No use of campaign funds by congressional offices to supplement official duties or travel expenses
- No motions to recess or adjourn in the House or Senate for a period or more than 23 hours
In addition, under the bill, no other votes would be in order in the House or Senate unless they pertain to passage of an appropriations bills or mandatory quorum calls in the Senate. However, after 30 days under the automatic CR, certain expiring authorization bills and executive calendar nominations would be eligible for consideration on the Senate floor, including a nomination for a Justice of the Supreme Court or a Cabinet Secretary, and narrow reauthorization legislation for programs operating under an authorization that has already expired or will expire within the next 30 days.
These restrictions can be waived by a two-thirds vote in either chamber but not for longer than seven days. Additionally, the bill provides for expedited consideration of bipartisan funding bills if appropriations have not been enacted 30 days after the start of the fiscal year. This would further incentivize Congress to process bipartisan spending bills and fund the government on time. Congress would not be subject to these restrictions if they pass the necessary legislation but await the President’s signature. However, if the President vetoes any of the funding bills, then the restrictions on congressional travel and floor consideration would be re-imposed.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.