Smucker attends Trump meeting, introduces bill to prevent future government shutdowns
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker met with President Donald Trump and House lawmakers from both sides Wednesday, Jan. 16, in what he called a "productive conversation" amid the longest government shutdown in history.
"Just got back from an excellent meeting with (President Donald Trump), Republicans and Democrats at the White House," the Lancaster County Republican tweeted. "We had the opportunity to listen and better understand each other."
Although a spokeswoman for Smucker, whose 11th District includes southern York County, declined to give additional details about the meeting, the sophomore congressman later that day introduced legislation to prevent future government shutdowns.
Smucker, who has been vocal about his irritation with the budget process but also supported Trump's hunt for $5.7 billion in border wall funding, authored what he dubs the Government Shutdown Prevention Act.
The legislation is sponsored by a group of six Republican lawmakers; Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township — York County's other congressman — isn't one of them and didn't immediately respond to inquiries seeking comment.
Perry represents the 10th District, which contains northern York County, part of Cumberland County and all of Dauphin County.
“We may not always agree on how to fix our problems," Smucker said. "But when it comes to keeping the federal government open, there should be no debate. American taxpayers and federal workers shouldn’t be held hostage because Congress can’t pass bills normally.”
The legislation — which is similar to a bill he proposed last year that was never voted out of the House Appropriations Committee — aims to implement a continuing resolution to provide government funding and prevent a government shutdown.
The resolution would immediately take effect if there is any sort of federal spending budget impasse or lapse in funding, immediately decreasing discretionary spending by 5 percent to incentivize lawmakers to make a deal while keeping the government open.
After that, discretionary spending would incrementally decrease further if an agreement still hasn't been reached — by 2 percent 60 days after the first day of the fiscal year and an additional 2 percent each subsequent 60 days.
The legislation would have no effect on the current shutdown, which as of Thursday, Jan. 17, was in its 27th day. Since then, roughly 420,000 workers were deemed essential and are working without pay, while an additional 380,000 have been furloughed.
It is the 21st government shutdown in U.S. history, and it broke the record of the longest in history last week after exceeding the 21-day shutdown in 1995 under President Bill Clinton.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.