Banning the Practice of Government Shutdowns: An Analysis of the End Government Shutdowns Act
Richardson, John C.
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When the United States government undergoes a partial shutdown, millions of Americans are forced to go without pay. In addition to the obvious undue stress this causes American families, the ripple effects of shutdowns include delayed government proceedings and massive economic losses. Partially in response to these losses, sitting politicians often lose credibility and support from the voting public. In wake of the 2018-19 partial government shutdown – the longest in United States history - a plethora of proposals to end government shutdowns emerged. One such proposal is The End Government Shutdowns Act, which was introduced by Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman. This act proposes to end partial government shutdowns by implementing an automatic continuing resolution to ensure that a failure to enact appropriations cannot be the impetus for such a shutdown. The resolution would create a 120-day grace period where all programs, projects, and activities were funded at the rate of the previous fiscal year. After the 120 days, there would sweeping 1% cuts to all appropriations provided for by the resolution. Additional 1% cuts would be implemented every succeeding 90-day period until all necessary appropriation legislation was passed for the new fiscal year. After explaining the causes of government shutdowns and the need for legislation to ban them, this capstone analyzes the potential of The End Government Shutdown Act as a proposed solution. The policy and its political impacts are considered. Ultimately, the 1% budget cuts are deemed to be a fatal flaw of the legislation and it is recommended to not support or pursue the act further.