If this year has taught taxpayers anything, it’s this: Washington politicians are not immune to putting partisan politics before the interests of the constituents they represent.
We’re three weeks away from a federal government shutdown. This is not new—in fact, this is crisis-to-crisis governing that, ultimately, puts American taxpayers in a lose-lose situation. Shutdowns have been happening since the 80s, and its impact historically leads to bloated, wasteful omnibus spending that puts the White House and chamber leaders in the driver’s seat, forcing rank-and-file members to support legislation out of fear and urgency.
What leads to the creation of bloated, wasteful spending bills? The fear of government shutdowns forces leaders to create omnibus spending bills to minimize the complaints of special interests groups, in the effort of pushing this legislation through in a timely manner. The needs of everyday taxpayers aren’t factored into the equation—as the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and special interests are served over the concerns of constituents.
As with many issues that plague Washington, D.C., there’s a better way. In a welcomed bipartisan effort from Senators Lankford and Hassan, and Representatives Arrington and Panetta, the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act was introduced in both chambers. Simply put, this resolution would extend current funding levels while Congress finalizes appropriations bills and would keep Congress in session every day working on appropriations bills until all bills are enacted. Through automatic continuing appropriations, the services that we as Americans have come to expect will continue at their current levels. If enacted, the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act would prevent bloated backroom deals, and allow for responsible governance in the midst of uncertain budget discussions.
Despite this legislation having broad bipartisan support, the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act failed the Senate by 4 votes. Our Pennsylvania Senators, Bob Casey and John Fetterman, voted against the bipartisan measure, further allowing for shady backroom deals to take precedent over sound, common-sense budgeting reform. Instead of accountability, our Senators from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose special interests. Instead of certainty, our Senators chose crisis. This vote, offered as an amendment to three spending measures, narrowly failed the Senate, but there’s still hope for the legislation’s success in the House chamber.
It’s important to note, too, that the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act was crafted with input from both the Biden administration, as well as the former Trump administration. This shows the true bipartisan, common-sense nature of this measure, and our Senators’ opposition to common-sense reform should be noted by the constituents that elected them to office.
November 17th is the date that looms over Washington decision-makers. Will they let the clock run out and face another nonsensical false choice to budget by crisis? Or will Washington choose to make room for the hardworking taxpayers across the country at the decision-making table?
Your voice on this matter is of critical importance. Head to americansforprosperity.org to send a message straight to your Representative in Washington.
This is Emily Greene, Deputy State Director with Americans for Prosperity-PA.