Special to the Progress

WASHINGTON – United States Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas) has introduced legislation aimed at preventing the federal government from shutting down as a result of the impending negotiations between the Democratic leadership and President George W. Bush over funding levels for 2008 spending bills. H.R. 3583, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, would provide for a continuing resolution in the event that Congress fails to enact any other legislation to keep the federal government running while negations continue on a final budget agreement. The bill currently has 40 original cosponsors.

“There are major differences of opinion when it comes to next year’s spending levels, but using the threat of a government shutdown as a negotiation tactic is simply unacceptable,” Hensarling said. “That is why I have introduced the Government Shutdown Prevention Act. It is absolutely vital that we keep the federal government up and running while negotiations regarding the 2008 budget are underway.”

Before the end of September, Congress is charged with the task of passing all appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008. In an attempt to restrain federal spending, the president has threatened to veto nine of the 12 bills. He is expected to have a showdown with the Democratic Party if it refuses to compromise on spending levels. This would force the government to shut down when it has not been appropriated the money it needs to run.

“Whether or not Congress agrees on spending levels, we should all be able to agree that a government shutdown must be avoided at all costs for the sake of the American people,” Hensarling added. 

It has been more than a decade since the last federal government shutdown. However, in the last three decades, there have been 17 government shutdowns ranging from one day to 21 days in length.

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