WASHINGTON – Members of Congress agree on one thing: They don’t want any more government shutdowns. They just can’t agree on how to stop…
WASHINGTON – Members of Congress agree on one thing: They don’t want any more government shutdowns. They just can’t agree on how to stop them for good.
Ahead of Friday’s deadline to prevent a second government shutdown, a bipartisan group of lawmakers reached a tentative deal on border security that would include $1.375 billion for fencing – well below President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion funding for a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border.
Lawmakers have been eager to prevent a repeat of the longest shutdown in history that ended last month. The 35-day lapse brought hardship to 800,000 federal workers who went unpaid for weeks. It also took a hefty financial toll on contractors and owners of small businesses such as restaurants and hair salons that rely on federal workers.
That has stirred renewed interest on Capitol Hill in legislation that would permanently avoid government shutdowns.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, compared the sudden surge in support to the comic character Pogo.
“Remember when Pogo looked in the mirror and said: “The enemy was us’? That’s what has happened,” Isakson said.
The Georgia Republican has backed a bill being pushed by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that would end government shutdowns. If Congress couldn’t come to an agreement on spending bills for the following year, automatic spending at the current level would kick in. After four months, there would be a 1 percent reduction across the board. That would happen again every 90 days, with the aim of bringing pressure on lawmakers to reach a deal.
Portman has been pushing the bill for years, but lately, he said he senses greater momentum – at least for the broad idea.
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“I’m very encouraged because I’ve never seen more support for ending shutdowns. It’s bipartisan now.

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