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February 7, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul’s Shutdown Solution

He proposes, if no deal is reached, immediate continuing resolutions that cut funding by 1% across the board.

Though Senate leaders have agreed on a two-year budget deal, it’s not a done deal yet. And as our government moves from the threat of one shutdown to another due to the inability of the Congress to come together on a budget deal, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced legislation that would prevent future government shutdowns while also providing incentive for Congress to produce a budget. Paul’s bill, entitled the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, would automatically trigger a continuing resolution (CR) in lieu of a shutdown, while at the same time cutting government funding by 1% across the board. If Congress is unable to pass a new budget deal within 90 days of the original CR, then a further 1% funding cut is enacted.

During a hearing on his bill Paul stated, “Around here, spending 1% less ought to be enough of a punishment to get people to do their jobs and do appropriations on time. We know both sides don’t want spending to go down. They’re all for more spending.” Unbelievably, over the last 40 years Congress has only passed a complete budget four times, which makes continuing resolutions the norm rather than the exception.

Critics of Paul’s proposal claim that it would be problematic because it “equally cuts good and bad programs … not shifting around to what’s effective.” But Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, points out the obvious, stating, “Would both sides dislike it enough? I think it’s important to have something that would bring everyone to the table.” In other words, if everyone’s pet program is facing funding cuts, then there would be significantly more motivation in working to find a solution.

And that’s probably why Paul’s bill will never really see the light of day…

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