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Rob Portman Unveils 'End Government Shutdowns Act'

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Newscom

"Although Congress continually fails to pass appropriations bills by the October 1st deadline, we should not force Americans to face the threat of government shutdown hanging over their heads," Portman said in a statement. "Our legislation ensures the federal government continues to provide the necessary services to its citizens while protecting against the panic and pressure of last-minute budget deals, allowing Congress to make the decisions necessary to get Washington's fiscal house back in order."

In March 2011, Congress came within inches of a shutdown, striking a deal in the final moments after painstaking negotiations. That fall, Republicans threatened another shutdown over political damends, which was also narrowly avoided. House conservatives are at it again this year, using the appropriations process to insist that Democrats agree to cut spending beneath levels agreed to in last fall's debt limit law as well as gut funds for the Affordable Care Act.

The timing of the latest threatened shutdown makes it a tricky proposition politically, prompting Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to buck his conservative members by calling for temporarily continued government funding at existing levels. Top Republicans are acutely aware of the damage that could be done to their hopes in November if the party is seen as sparking a government shutdown on the eve of Election Day.

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.