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The Last Shutdown?

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media about a deal to end the partial government shutdown in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young

Leading Senate Republicans, angered by the recent shutdown, are pushing legislation to make sure it never happens again. “Shutting down the government should be as off limits in budget negotiations as chemical warfare is in real warfare,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

He backs legislation by Ohio’s Rob Portman which would fund agencies at existing levels if Congress can’t pass appropriations on time.

To force a resolution, funding would be cut by 1 percent after 120 days, and then dropped 1 percent more every 90 days after that. Mark Warner—the Democrat Senator from Virginia—says automatic extensions shouldn’t apply to Congress itself or the White House—when hard-working staffers miss their own paychecks, they’ll insist their bosses quickly drop the childish games.

If president Trump got behind such legislation, which already has 20 co-sponsors, he’d score a popular political win and deliver a blessing for all future presidents and Congresses.

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