This week, I taped a video explaining how my bill will shut down government shutdowns for good. Watch it here or read the transcript below:
Hello. I'm Congressman Alan Grayson.
With a federal budget deadline looming, we are still facing the threat of another destructive government shutdown.
And it's because a small faction of Republicans want to choke off federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood received roughly half a billion dollars in federal grants to help pay for critical medical services that the organization provides to poor women across the country last year.
The federal government spends approximately $3 trillion a year.
So Republicans want to shut down the entire federal government over a concern regarding about one-sixtieth of 1 percent of federal spending.
If Republicans shut the government down, health and safety inspections will be halted. Federal loans and import/export licenses will be put on hold.
The National Institutes of Health will stop accepting patients. And more than 800,000 federal workers care likely to be sent home.
But this isn't the first time Republicans have shut down the federal government over partisan concerns.
So that's why I've filed a bill that could make it the last time the government gets shutdown because of politics.
Two years ago, Congressional Republicans knew that all of their efforts to amend or repeal the Affordable Care Act by Constitutional means had failed, and Obamacare had been upheld by the Supreme Court.
The linchpin of that act, the "affordability credits" that have helped more than 10 million Americans obtain coverage, were about to go into effect. So Republicans forced a shutdown.
It was embarrassing, costly and pointless.
Standard & Poor's estimated that the 16-day federal shutdown in 2013 cost us $24 billion, and reduced fourth quarter 2013 Gross National Product growth by about 0.6 percent. This from the self-proclaimed "fiscally responsible" party. The G.O.P.
It was also political self-mutilation by the GOP; its support in the polls dropped by 10 percent.
In April, I proposed a simple solution. My bill, the Shut Down the Shutdowns Act, eliminates this danger entirely by applying existing budget levels to all federal agencies until a new law is passed creating new ones. My bill, H.R. 1776, is our declaration of independence from the tyranny of government shutdowns, both actual and threatened.
Existing law prohibits shutdowns regarding Social Security and Medicare benefits. Shouldn't we be consistent? Why should the default for federal spending be no budget, instead of just the same budget? And why should we ever allow a fraction of a faction in the body politic to threaten the whole and hold all of us hostage?
I have served in Congress for almost five years. I am genuinely puzzled as to why we keep finding ourselves peering over a fiscal cliff every Sept. 30, wondering whether to jump. Just because we have done something every year for centuries doesn't mean that we have to keep doing it -- just ask the swallows who used to come to San Juan Capistrano.
Let's end this dangerous and self-destructive political ritual. Let's shut down the shutdowns. It's common sense, and it's what the American people deserve.
I'm Congressman Alan Grayson. Thank you.