WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he is open to legislation that would prevent future government shutdowns.
“I don’t like shutdowns. I don’t think they work for anybody and I hope they will be avoided. I’d be open to anything that we could agree on on a bipartisan basis that would make them pretty hard to occur again,” McConnell told reporters less than a week after the last partial shutdown ended.
The Senate GOP leader added that federal funding lapses were an example of “government dysfunction” and they should be “embarrassing.”
A growing number of senators say they would support legislation that would prevent future government shutdowns by automatically creating a continuing resolution (CR). But there are competing proposals in the Senate, with both Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introducing legislation.
Portman’s proposal would reduce funding by 1 percent after 120 days and again every subsequent 90 days if lawmakers haven’t reached a deal. Warner’s would withhold funding for the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President in an attempt to motivate lawmakers to negotiate.
Congress faces another deadline to prevent a partial shutdown on Feb. 15. The 35-day funding lapse, which ended on Friday, was the longest in U.S. history and sparked considerable frustration on Capitol Hill.
But the idea of automatically creating a CR ran into backlash from prominent House Democrats on Tuesday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that he was “reticent” about legislation that would take Congress out of the decision-making process.
The Hill’s Jordain Carney contributed to the contents of this report.