(Washington) -- Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne supports a bill that would prevent future federal government shutdowns from happening.
Axne and fellow Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer this week introduced the Shutdown to End All Shutdowns or SEAS act in the U.S. House. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, the West Des Moines Democrat says the legislation would ensure the government would stay open if Congress and the president fail to enact appropriations legislation. It prevents Congress and senior, executive branch staff from being paid when an agreement isn't reached.
"Essentially, it prevents federal workers from being furloughed, or forced to work without pay, if Congress and the president fail to agree on an appropriations measures," said Axne. "Then, it transfers the financial hardship from federal workers to the pockets of the lawmakers, and high levels of the executive branch."
Under the SEAS act, failure of Congress to pass a full-year appropriations bill by the end of the fiscal year would trigger a 30-day continuing resolution. It would also force congressional representatives to stay in Washington by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from covering travel expenses. Axne adds the bill would prevent federal workers from being used as pawns in future negotiations.
"When our federal workers weren't around," she said, "as you well know, our farmers couldn't get their checks cashed, or get their FSA stamps placed on their checks, or get those cashed to pay off loans from last year, and lost out on an early operating loan, and discounts on the things that they needed. Our small businesses couldn't access to capital, and, of course, our federal workers who were working without pay really suffered a hardship."
Axne says she was grateful to see the 35-day shutdown end late last week, and is hopeful her bill will gain support in the House.
"I feel really good about the reception that we're getting in regards to the language in the bill," said Axne. "There are also multiple bills that are floating some similar language on both sides of the aisle--Republicans and Democrats. So, I feel very comfortable that our act will actually get some traction."
President Trump has threatened another shutdown unless Congress allocates money for a wall across the U.S. southern border. Axne says another shutdown would be "a black eye for the country."
"We've already suffered about an $11 billion economic hit as a result of this previous shutdown," she said. "I'm hoping that he (Trump) understands that this country can't take another economic hit like that, and that this is not a way to govern."
You can hear the full interview with Cindy Axne on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.