Smucker Introduces Legislation to Prevent Government Shutdowns

April 27, 2017
Press Release
Cosponsors Three Bills to Reform Budget Process, Hold Members of Congress Accountable

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) is working across the aisle to prevent future government shutdowns and hold Congress accountable for failing to perform the basic task of funding the federal government.

Rep. Smucker today introduced the Government Shutdown Prevention Act – legislation that would provide for an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any appropriations bill not completed before the end of the fiscal year. If a budget is still not completed within 120 days after the CR, funding levels would be reduced by one percent, and again after each subsequent 90-day period.

“The United States Congress is the single greatest deliberative body in the world,” said Rep. Smucker. “We represent a diverse set of priorities across the political spectrum. We should have open and transparent discussions about solutions to the problems we face as a nation. We are expected to have those debates. But when it comes to keeping the federal government open, there should be no debate. We cannot allow American taxpayers and federal employees to be held hostage by Congress’ inability to pass funding bills through regular order.”

In addition to introducing his own legislation, Rep. Smucker also signed on as a cosponsor to three bipartisan bills to modernize and reform the federal government, and sent a letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black urging a hearing on comprehensive budget process reform.

These efforts follow his early cosponsorship of bipartisan legislation to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit Congress from spending more money than it receives in taxpayer dollars – forcing the federal government to balance their budget just like millions of Pennsylvania families and the Pennsylvania State Government.

No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 1779)

Introduced by Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), the No Budget, No Pay Act would withhold the pay of Members of Congress after October 1, 2017 unless Congress uses regular order to pass a budget resolution and appropriations bills. If a budget resolution and appropriations are passed after the October 1st deadline, the Chairs of the House and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees would determine if Members of Congress will receive retroactive pay.

“Members of Congress should be held to the same standard as hardworking Americans – if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid,” said Rep. Smucker. “I am hopeful this legislation will restore regular order to the budget process so we can do what we were all sent here to do.”

“Congress is the only place in America where you get paid for showing up but not doing your work. There shouldn’t be special treatment for Members of Congress,” said Rep. Cooper. “They should live by the same rules as everybody else: do your job and do it on time, or you don’t get paid. It’s that simple.”

Hold Congress Accountable Act (H.R. 1794)

Introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-05), the Hold Congress Accountable Act would reduce the salary of Members of Congress for the duration of a federal government shutdown. For each day a federal government shutdown is in effect, the annual pay rate for each Member of Congress would be reduced by an amount equal to one day’s worth of pay.

“There is simply no excuse for Congress not to complete one of its most important jobs – funding the federal government,” said Rep. Smucker. “It’s what the American people expect, and more importantly it’s what they deserve. I’m glad to work across the aisle to do my part to ensure we are completing a core function of government.”

“Our number one job in Congress is to pass a budget,” said Rep. Schrader. “There is no partisan issue that takes priority over our constituents, and shutting down the government shouldn’t be a last resort: it should never even be an option. If we’ve learned anything at all in Congress these last few weeks, it’s that strawman legislation goes nowhere and is good for no one. And we are never going to progress on anything if we continue to refuse to put our trivial differences aside and work together for the good of our districts and our country.”

Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act (H.R. 1065)

Introduced by Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06), the Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act would reform the budget and appropriations process by extending it from one to two years. The bill directs the budget and appropriations process to take place during non-election years – ensuring Members of Congress have ample time to complete the process. During election years, Congress would evaluate long-term budgetary effects of proposed funding to help eliminate wasteful government spending and programs.

“Passing longer-term spending bills will give Congress more time to focus on other priorities like creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and keeping the American people safe,” said Rep. Smucker. “Too often, Washington’s bitter partisan atmosphere and short-term spending bills lead to a funding crisis. We should not accept this as our status quo. This bill would help get our fiscal house in order and so we can tackle the challenges facing families across Pennsylvania and the nation.”

Letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black

Rep. Smucker today sent a letter to Chairman Black urging a hearing on comprehensive budget process reform. In the letter, Rep. Smucker said:

“As you are aware, a strong budget process is a key start to confronting our country’s significant fiscal challenges and helping lawmakers focus on responsible long-term spending commitments. The committee should begin deliberation on how we can improve the process and reestablish regular order through the passage of an annual budget resolution and 12 appropriations bills. I strongly encourage our committee members to examine potential reforms to the congressional budget process, including: strengthening budget enforcement, increasing transparency for American taxpayers, establishing long-term debt limits, and reforming mandatory spending.

“It is time that we take a critical step towards securing our long-term fiscal path by making congressional budget reform a priority in the 115th Congress.”

Rep. Smucker’s full letter to Chairman Black is attached.