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senate Bill S. 334

Taking Away Congress' Ability To Shutdown The Government

Argument in favor

Government shutdowns are an ineffective means of resolving budgetary disagreements. They not only have major economic consequences, but also hurt those who rely on federal money.

Richard's Opinion
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03/12/2015
In recent years, govt shut downs have only been used as a political toy, with nothing to do with the actual point of business.
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Gloria's Opinion
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03/12/2015
We need to know that jobs and programs are secure from the whims of a bunch of self-serving idiots.
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BananaNeil's Opinion
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03/09/2015
Loss of funding after 120 days will be enough incentive for budget compromises. Shut downs affect EVERY government employee, which means thousands of jobs are just put on hold without pay.
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Argument opposed

Without the possibility of government shutdowns, there would be less incentive for members of Congress to work together on budgetary decisions. This bill makes it too easy for Congress to avoid these decisions and prolong the status quo.

Kent's Opinion
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03/12/2015
According to my understanding of the Constitution, Congress is RESPONSIBLE for the operation of the Federal Government. It is lunacy to even consider such a ban. The legislation, if you look at it sanely, would, in itself, be unConstitutional.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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05/23/2015
I think we could all use a few years of government shutdown.
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Maureen's Opinion
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03/12/2015
The government never really shuts down. Liberal media tripe. Congress will do it's job without further unnecessary laws.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Appropriations
    IntroducedFebruary 2nd, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 334?

You may know the feeling — turning on the TV, perched at the edge of your seat, absorbing that special frenetic energy that intensifies as the clocks inches closer to midnight. You know, all around the country, people just like you are asking the same question: will Congress pass that appropriations bill? Of course, it’s not the bill you really care about. You need to know if it passes, because if it doesn’t, the government will shut down.


There were 17 government shutdowns between 1976 and mid-2013. Many happened when Congress couldn't come to an agreement over a major budgetary decision. If passed, this bill would put an end to the threat of government shutdowns in these – and any other – situations. 


Instead of instituting a full or partial shutdown of the government in the absence of a negotiation, this bill would initiate an automatic continuous resolution of the previously agreed-up budget. This would continue until Congress can reach a decision, keeping the government open for business. After 120 days, the government would begin to gradually lose funding, urging Congress to reach a decision.

Impact

Federal employees, their dependents, businesses and organizations that rely on federal funding, the everyday operations of the U.S. government, and members of Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 334

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth:

In late February 2015, Congress debates over Obama’s immigration policies approached a stalemate. As one New York Times headline read:Concern Mounts as Homeland Security Shutdown Looks Likely. Homeland Security Shutdown? Concern mounted, indeed.


While a last minute funding-extension prevented the shutdown, there is reason to believe that a shutdown over the Affordable Care Act may be in store for this Fall. A document released by the White House after the government shutdown in 2013 revealed that the effects of shutdowns range from delays in research funding to significant economic losses to both organizations and individuals. In addition to lost wages by federal employees, $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed.  


Media:

Sponsoring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) Press Release

Journal News

Government Executive

Mother Jones (Government Shutdowns)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user E.N.K.)

AKA

End Government Shutdowns Act

Official Title

A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for automatic continuing resolutions.

    This makes too much sense.
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    According to my understanding of the Constitution, Congress is RESPONSIBLE for the operation of the Federal Government. It is lunacy to even consider such a ban. The legislation, if you look at it sanely, would, in itself, be unConstitutional.
    Like (27)
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    In recent years, govt shut downs have only been used as a political toy, with nothing to do with the actual point of business.
    Like (30)
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    I think we could all use a few years of government shutdown.
    Like (21)
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    We need to know that jobs and programs are secure from the whims of a bunch of self-serving idiots.
    Like (15)
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    Loss of funding after 120 days will be enough incentive for budget compromises. Shut downs affect EVERY government employee, which means thousands of jobs are just put on hold without pay.
    Like (13)
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    The only thing that should be shut down is the federal governments pay when the do not complete their tasks and just like President Aragon did, if they do not report back with in a certain time they should be FIRED. they are federal employees. DO YOU JOB
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    Congress should NEVER have the ability to shut down the government under ANY circumstances. Especially with the petty arguments and backstabbing that has occurred within this and the previous congress.
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    The government never really shuts down. Liberal media tripe. Congress will do it's job without further unnecessary laws.
    Like (5)
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    The bill doesn't remove incentive to get things done and prolong the status quo, it simply prevents usage of shutdowns as tool to leverage against each other at the public's expense, then begins taking away THEIR funding to light a fire under them to get it done. I prefer not to be used as a political pawn.
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    No! This is one of the few bargaining chips Congress has, the other big one being the power of the purse! A "government shutdown" in reality only means that "nonessential" personnel get sent home. You still get your Social Security checks or your disability benefits. The military gets paid! Don't believe the scare tactics of the Left and the mainstream media (Obama's lapdogs, as I've seen them referred to). ***************************** 2013 Government Shutdown: Three Departments Reported Varying Degrees of Impacts on Operations, Grants, and Contracts GAO-15-86, Published: Oct 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 2014. Summary Additional Materials: View Report: (PDF, 54 pages) http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666526.pdf Highlights Page: (PDF, 1 page) http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666525.pdf Accessible Text: (HTML text file) http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666821.txt What GAO Found The 2013 shutdown impacted some operations and services at the three departments that GAO reviewed: Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Transportation (DOT). For example, at HHS's National Institutes of Health (NIH), initial closure of the clinical trials registry prevented new trial registrations for patients, before NIH recalled a small number of employees to reopen the registry. Similarly, DOT's Merchant Marine Academy closed and required a change to the academic calendar to allow eligible students to graduate on time. However, officials at these departments said that longer-term effects are difficult to assess in isolation from other budgetary events, such as sequestration. Because of employee furloughs and payment or work disruptions, the three departments, their components, grant recipients, and contractors faced delays and disruptions in grant and contract activities during the shutdown, including the following examples: Within HHS, grants management activities at NIH effectively ceased with employee furloughs, although most current grant recipients were able to draw down funds. NIH had to reschedule the review process for over 13,700 grant applications because of the shutdown. After the shutdown, NIH completed the process to meet the next milestone in January 2014. Grants activities at DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) effectively ceased with grants management officials furloughed and no payments made on existing grants. FTA officials said that no new grant awards were processed because of the shutdown, but the effect was minimal because the grant processing system is typically unavailable in early October for fiscal year closeout activities. At DOE's Office of Environmental Management (EM), contract activities generally continued because of the availability of multi-year funding, but more than 1,700 contractor employees who operate and maintain EM facilities were laid off or required to use leave because EM issued stop work orders. EM officials reported some programs required 4 months to return to pre-shutdown levels of contract activity. Researchers' analyses of the economic effects of the shutdown have been limited to predicting its effect on real gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2013. In January 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated the direct effect of the shutdown on real GDP growth to be a reduction of 0.3 percentage points. Economic forecasters GAO interviewed believed the other economic effects to be minimal at the economy-wide level. The selected departments were aided in managing the uncertainties of the shutdown by their experience with preparing for prior potential shutdowns, funding flexibilities (such as multi-year funding), and ongoing communications internally and with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) officials. OMB staff addressed questions from agencies on how to communicate about the shutdown with their employees, but did not direct agencies to document lessons learned from how they planned, managed, and implemented the shutdown for future reference. Why GAO Did This Study The federal government partially shut down for 16 days in October 2013 because of a lapse in appropriations. According to OMB, about 850,000 federal employees were furloughed for part of this time. GAO was asked to describe the effects of the shutdown. This report describes (1) how the shutdown affected selected agencies' operations and services, including immediate and potential longer-term effects; (2) what is known about how the shutdown affected federal contracting and grants, as reported by the selected agencies and associations with expertise in grants and contracts; and (3) what economic studies or reports state about the effect of the shutdown on national economic activity. GAO selected three departments for review—DOE, HHS, and DOT—based on the value of grants and contracts, the percentage of employees expected to be furloughed, and the potential for longer-term effects. GAO reviewed department contingency plans and other documents; economic forecasters' analyses; and interviewed officials from the selected departments and components, BEA, OMB, OPM, associations, and economic forecasters. What GAO Recommends GAO recommends that OMB instruct agencies to document lessons learned in planning for and implementing a shutdown, as well as resuming activities following a shutdown should a funding gap longer than five days occur in the future. OMB staff did not state whether they agreed or disagreed with the recommendation. For more information, contact Yvonne D. Jones at (202) 512-6806 or jonesy@gao.gov. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-86n" in reality only means that "nonessential" personnel get sent home. You still get your Social Security checks or your disability benefits. The military gets paid! Don't believe the scare tactics of the Left and the mainstream media (Obama's lapdogs, as I've seen them referred to).
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    The last shutdown was a farce. Congress shutdown the government and put thousands of hard working Americans on furlough - but still managed to draw a paycheck for themselves and had the audacity to complain that they were feeling the same pain as everyone else because their private congressional gyms weren't being maintained. Holding our government hostage and threatening to shut it down should not be an option made available to irresponsible law makers who seek to gain donors, political points, and air time on network TV.
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    Past experience with shutowns forces compromise that would not be possible if the branches of government didn't have e pressure of the public scrutiny.
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    This terrorist tactic needs to end.
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    If this were a serious problem, and not an overblown PR stunt each time it happens, then it might be a problem. The choice of services, some of which cost more to shut down than keep open, demonstrates the fabricated nature of the problem. As it stands, "shutdowns" would only be replaced by some other contrived spectacle if they were forbidden.
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    This is a ridiculous and harmful way of grandstanding equal to bullying at it's worse. And, as usual, only the most vulnerable are truly effected by it.
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    History shows us that nothing is gained by shutting down the government. all it does is make the gov't workers and the people suffer
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    This gets the people's attention on how horrible their elected officials are performing. I think every time the government shuts down every elected official should be required to make a public apology to their district.
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    Remember the last time the government shut down in 2013 thanks to that dumba** Texas US Senator Ted Cruz and his idiot gang of conservative lunatics and how it costed millions of Americans to temporarily lost their jobs or government benefits? Yeah, Congress should not be given the ability to shut down the government.
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    Congress isn't always the only one responsible for a government shutdown. The executive branch along with congress share in that blame. It takes the legislative & executive branches both working in a bipartisan manner to get things accomplished
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