The No Budget, No Recess Act would prohibit members of Congress from leaving Washington before the budget is completed
WASHINGTON – Following years of Congress’ repeated ineffectiveness to responsibly fund the federal government on time, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and David Perdue (R-GA), introduced legislation that would prohibit members of Congress from leaving Washington if we fail to pass a budget on time.
“Hardworking Iowans, and Americans across the country, are sick and tired of government shutdowns, continuing resolutions and massive omnibus spending bills. This dysfunctional cycle is not the way our government was designed to function or should function. If we fail to pass a budget and spending bills, we should stay in town and work together until we get the job done,” said Senator Joni Ernst.
“If the government shuts down due to congressional dysfunction and failure to agree on spending bills, Members of the Senate and House, the President, and his Cabinet should not be allowed to leave DC,” said Senator Lankford. “If we want to really put the pressure on Congress to take action on funding, we should prevent Members from going home or traveling during pre-scheduled ‘recess weeks,’ which would encourage Congress to actually have those tough conversations about spending. Just as Americans expect us to, we need to stay until the job is done. We are on day 26 of the longest-ever government shutdown, and yet Congress is about to go home for the weekend, with some Members flying out of the country. The proposal that we offer today would keep Congress in town until the budget is finally resolved. During a government shutdown, Congress and the White House should experience pain, not the American people.”
“Congress should be held to the same standards of people in the real world,” said Senator Perdue. “Washington’s broken funding process has created a dysfunctional cycle of continuing resolutions, last-minute spending deals, and government shutdowns. Enough is enough. It’s time to create a politically neutral platform to fund the government on time every year, including real consequences for Members of Congress if they don’t get the entire job done. We should not go home until we have completed our work. Period.”
The No Budget, No Recess Act would prohibit members of Congress from leaving Washington if we fail to pass a budget by April 15 or approve regular spending bills by August 1. This means that Congress would be unable to adjourn for the August state work period—commonly referred to as “recess”—until work is completed.
Congress is supposed to fund the government by October 1—the first day of the new fiscal year. However, since 1976, Congress has only funded the government on time four times. Instead, Congress usually relies on temporary funding extensions called “continuing resolutions,” which are wasteful and create uncertainty. Worse yet, there have been 21 government shutdowns since 1976.
Under the No Budget, No Recess Act, if both the House and Senate have not approved a budget by April 15 or passed all appropriations bills by August 1, then:
Congress’ dysfunctional budget process by the numbers: