New proposal to end government shutdowns for good

By  | 

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- President Donald Trump is considering a deal from Congress to avoid another shutdown. Meanwhile, some lawmakers plan to make sure the government can never be held as a political prisoner again.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, isn't a big fan of big government. But he's sick of shutdowns and wants to sell Congress on a plan to keep the federal government open, permanently.

"It's a hammer, but we also wouldn't have the cliffs anymore, government would continue," he said.

Paul's solution is this: as soon as lawmakers miss a budget deadline, the previous spending plan gets extended, but cut by 1 percent. If the budget stalemate drags out, deeper cuts would follow.

"And, to tell you the truth, I think government could permanently live on 99 percent of what they're spending or 98 percent," he said.

This year, following the longest shutdown in U.S. history, permanently ending shutdowns has more support than ever before, with plans coming from both sides of the aisle.

"You cannot put the federal government on automatic pilot and have it work well," said Michele Swers, a political science professor at Georgetown University.

Swers said momentum to end shutdowns is a natural response to political polarization and public pressure. But she argues Congress typically needs deadline pressure to compromise and function.

And, she said uniform cuts remove accountability.

"You're not scrutinizing what's working and what's not working and increasing and decreasing funding accordingly," she explained.

It's a long shot, but if the idea becomes law, the country's longest government shutdown to date could be the last.