Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., introduced new legislation this week that aims to prevent government shutdowns and the burdens they cause for Federal employees, government contractors, and Americans who rely on government services.

The End Shutdowns Act looks to prevent government shutdowns by automatically initiating a continuing resolution (CR) for funding on Oct. 1 if no regular appropriations bill is passed by that date. The short-term CR bill would be necessary in the absence of congressional action to fund the government beyond fiscal year (FY) 2023, which ends on Sept. 30.

The proposed bill also would prevent the Senate from moving forward with any other legislation – outside of an emergency scenario – until Congress reached a long-term spending deal agreement.

“Government shutdowns have disastrous consequences for Federal employees and government contractors and slow down critical government services that millions of Americans rely on like getting replacement Social Security cards and food inspections. But politicians continue to use or threaten to use government shutdowns as a negotiating tactic,” Sen. Kaine said in a press release. “This is unacceptable, which is why I’m reintroducing my bill to prevent government shutdowns.”

“Government shutdowns are destructive for the Federal workforce and the country, no good can come from them, and Congress should not allow them to happen,” added Rep. Beyer. “Intentionally shuttering the government of the most powerful country on earth is foolish, weakening and embarrassing America on the world stage … Congress should permanently take the threat of a government shutdown off the table, which is what our commonsense bill would do.”

The bill comes just a few weeks ahead of Congress’ Sept. 30 deadline to reach a government funding agreement of some kind – or else face a possible shutdown.

The bill faces an uphill climb, with Congress already off to a slow start passing legislation to fund the government for FY2024, and some House conservative lawmakers favoring budget provisions that would be considered “poison pill” provisions by others.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.