Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski co-sponsors Senate bill to end shutdown

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski continued her push against the government shutdown Friday in co-sponsoring the End Government Shutdowns Act with a group of fellow Republican senators.

The legislation would end the shutdown and work to permanently avoid future government shutdowns by creating an automatic continuing resolution for any regular appropriations bills or existing resolutions, thus allowing the federal government to remain open even when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines.

“The ripple effect of a government shutdown has consequences for all Alaskans — most directly on the thousands of federal employees and tens of thousands more that rely on our federal agencies,” Murkowski said in a statement Friday. “This legislation permanently ends government shutdowns with a common-sense solution to avoid a funding lapse, ensuring the jobs and livelihoods of federal workers and contractors are not held hostage during political disputes."

In addition to Murkowski, Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, also co-sponsored the act.

Portman has introduced legislation of this nature every year since he was elected in 2010.

Murkowski spoke on the Senate floor Friday, urging senators to end the government shutdown as soon as possible. She made clear her support for increased border security during her address.

"Count me in as one of the many in this body and the many around this country who want to ensure we have strong borders in this nation, that we have true and meaningful border security, whether it is at our southern border or whether it's at our northern border," she said in the chamber. "Whether it's our borders on land or whether it is our borders on sea."

"Count me in as one who is prepared to deal with the difficulties, the true humanitarian issues that we are seeing on the southern border today with an influx of children and families, those who are seeking asylum, those who are frustrated with our systems; count me in as one of those who wants to address these issues," she said.

Murkowski also emphasized the immediate need to reopen the federal government. 

“But also count me in as one who says that shutting down the government is not governing. Nobody is winning in this. And I've been reading all the accounts that are out there in terms of whether people think that this is on the president, whether this is on the Democrats, whether this is on the House," Murkowski said. "You know who it is on? It is on the backs of all of us, of the men and women who are the federal workers who work hard, who get up every day doing the job that we've tasked them to do, some of whom are furloughed, some of whom are working without pay, but all of whom are worried about where we are."

Previously the longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in 1995-96. That record was be broken by the current government shutdown today.

By:  Erin McGroarty
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner