Friday, April 8, 2011

Udall Offers Common-Sense Bill to Prevent Federal Government Shutdown, Urges Passage TODAY

Bill Would Change Law to Prevent Either Party from Ever Holding the American People Hostage Over Political Infighting

Today, with both parties at an impasse over the budget and a debilitating federal government shutdown looming, Mark Udall introduced a bill to keep the government funded this year, which would also prevent either party from ever using the threat of a government shutdown to push its agenda. His bill would change the law to require that funds automatically be appropriated at the previous year’s level if a budget could not be agreed to. Once Congress is able to reach an agreement to fund the government, this automatic funding would stop and be replaced by the enacted bill.

This bill could be passed to prevent a shutdown today, if Congress agrees. But Udall will support the one-week Democratic Continuing Resolution offered today, and he sees this bill as complementary in the event the CR is not signed into law or when that one-week CR expires next Friday.

Fundamentally, Udall believes a government shutdown could cripple growth in our fragile economic recovery and erode confidence in the U.S. economy. People’s livelihoods are at stake – military families are worried about receiving their paychecks, farmers are waiting for operating loans to put seed in theground, and millions of Americans are still waiting on their tax refunds. Over 53,000 federal employees in Colorado alone – and 800,000 nationwide – would be sent home without pay. It’s critical to pass the bill today, he said.

“Coloradans are incredulous as we fight over what amounts to 1 percent of the budget and some politically motivated policy riders,” Udall said. “Congress is playing chicken, trying to see which side of the aisle will flinch first – but when neither side yields, it’s the American people who ultimately suffer the worst outcome. At this eleventh hour, we need to remember we’ve been elected to serve, not to compete for a pot of fool’s gold that makes our constituents poorer in the long run.”

“The House and the Senate can pass my bill today and prevent a government shutdown,” Udall continued. “And it would prevent either party from ever holding the American people hostage over political infighting. This is the right thing to do, and I’m urging my colleagues in both parties and both houses of Congress to pass it.”

More details on Udall’s proposal:

· Funding for all government programs and projects would be at the same level or rate at which they had been funded in the previous year unless legislation specifically addressed or prohibited funding for a given program or project.

· The legislation would be in effect for each fiscal year, but would not roll over from one fiscal year to another – meaning that flatline funding would not be a permanent status quo.

The text of the bill can be found HERE.