WASHINGTON — Many federal workers and others are highly concerned we’ll face another government shutdown when the current extension expires on February 15th.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, says he’s hopeful “we’ve learned a lesson” and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, can reach a compromise with President Trump to solve the standoff. “I would hope Pelosi would now negotiate and not just say ‘no’ as she has in the past,” Grassley says. “I think the president has shown more flexibility than I thought he would show.”
A possible fix has emerged, what’s being called an automatic continuing resolution, which Grassley says could “end government shutdowns forever.” “Pretty simple,” Grassley says. “You get up to September 30th, all the appropriation bills aren’t passed, you don’t shut down the government, you just continue to spend money at the level you did the last fiscal year until the appropriation bills get passed.”
The amendment is being offered by Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and Grassley remains optimistic it will gain bipartisan traction and pass. “Government is supposed to be a service for the American people and you can’t serve the American people when you aren’t operating,” Grassley says. “So, all this common sense now tells me we should never have a government shutdown again.”
Governing is often about the art of compromise, Grassley says, and that’s the only way to get out of this situation. “There ought to be a bipartisan agreement where you can get border security at some level of expenditure by cutting the difference between the two points of view, usually between two-billion and six-billion,” Grassley says. “Split it at three or three-and-a-half.”
Most of the 800-thousand federal workers who were furloughed or forced to work without pay were able to return to work Monday. The 35-day partial federal government shutdown began on December 22nd and was the longest in U-S history.