WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a press conference earlier this week, Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Dean Phillips (MN-03) and Colin Allred (TX-32) led a group of more than 20 freshman lawmakers in introducing the Shutdown to End All Shutdowns (SEAS) Act, a bill aimed at protecting federal employees from being used as pawns in future political negotiations by transferring the financial hardship of shutdowns to the Executive Branch and Members of Congress.
In addition to shifting the hardship caused by a federal government shutdown to those responsible for it, the SEAS Act would allow government to continue operating under an automatic continuing resolution for as long as Congress and the President fail to agree on an appropriations measure.
“We represent a growing chorus of Americans demanding an end to shutdowns,” said Phillips. “They are the worst negotiation tactic practiced by our government. They’re irresponsible and ineffective, and the human toll is inexcusable. The only people who should suffer financial hardship when elected leaders can’t govern are the elected leaders themselves.”
“If Congress and the President can’t agree on spending, the burden shouldn’t fall on federal workers and their families — it should fall on leaders in Washington. As a former federal worker for 14 years, I’m proud to be introducing a bill that ensures federal workers aren’t held hostage by stalled negotiations, and puts real skin in the game for Members of Congress and the President if they can’t do their jobs,” said Slotkin.
“Intentionally shutting the government down to negotiate policy differences is irresponsible and failed policy,” said Houlahan. “As we recently saw, millions of American families are adversely affected when our government fails to do its most basic responsibilities. We cannot let this happen again and this bill will appropriately put the pain in situations like these on the Executive and Legislative branches rather than on the people that we serve.”
“Back home in Texas I heard from all kinds of people and the message was the same — enough is enough,” said Allred. “Shutdown politics are nothing more than petty brinkmanship and serve only to take us backward. The Freshman class was sworn in during a shutdown and we want to make sure this never happens again. We were sent here to clean up and reform Washington and this legislation does just that.”
Specifically, the SEAS Act would prohibit the use of federal funds for Member travel and require daily quorum calls for the duration of a federal government shutdown. The legislation would also suspend Member pay and not hold it in escrow, as it is under current law.
The SEAS Act hits the president with equally stiff penalties, prohibiting the use of federal funds for Executive Branch and Cabinet, except by waiver in cases of national security, natural disaster or national emergency. Under the new law, the use of federal funds would also be prohibited for Executive Branch bonuses, receptions, entertainment, exercise facilities and golf courses during a shutdown.
Read more about the SEAS Act here.
Source: Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania
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