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S. 1877: Government Shutdown Accountability Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 18, 2019 (Introduced).


II

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1877

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 18, 2019

(for himself, Ms. Hassan, and Mr. Johnson) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A BILL

To establish procedures and consequences in the event of a failure to complete regular appropriations.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Government Shutdown Accountability Act.

2.

Definitions

In this Act—

(1)

the term covered officer or employee means—

(A)

an officer or employee of the Office of Management and Budget;

(B)

an individual serving in a position on level I of the Executive Schedule under section 5312 of title 5, United States Code;

(C)

a Member of Congress; or

(D)

an employee of the personal office of a Member of Congress, a committee of either House of Congress, or a joint committee of Congress;

(2)

the term emergency legislation means legislation—

(A)

providing assistance for an area with respect to which the President has declared a major disaster under section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170);

(B)

directly addressing a national emergency declared by the President under title II of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.); or

(C)

that, if not enacted, would be inimical to the national security of the United States;

(3)

the term Government shutdown means a lapse in appropriations for 1 or more Federal agencies or departments as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or continuing resolution;

(4)

the term Member of Congress has the meaning given that term in section 2106 of title 5, United States Code; and

(5)

the term National Capital region has the meaning given that term in section 8702 of title 40, United States Code.

3.

Designating certain FEHBP-related services as excepted services under the Anti-Deficiency Act

(a)

In general

Section 8905 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(i)

In the event of a lapse in appropriations, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall designate any officer or employee who performs services relating to enrolling individuals in a health benefits plan under this chapter, or changing the enrollment of an individual already so enrolled due to a qualifying life event, as an excepted employee (as defined in section 1341(c) of title 31).

.

(b)

Application

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to any lapse in appropriations beginning on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

4.

Employment during a Government shutdown

(a)

Outside employment permitted

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding any other law, rule, or regulation, and subject to paragraph (3), during any lapse in appropriations beginning on or after December 22, 2018, any Federal employee of an agency with respect to which appropriations have lapsed and who is furloughed or excepted from furlough and working without pay may, during such lapse, seek and obtain employment outside the Federal Government.

(2)

Prior approval not required

An employee subject to this subsection may seek and obtain such employment without prior approval from the employee’s employing agency.

(3)

Limitations

This subsection shall not be construed to waive any restrictions or requirement with respect to conflicts of interest, including section 208 of title 18, United States Code, or part 2635 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.

(b)

Backpay

Any compensation received by an employee by operation of subsection (a) shall not be taken into account for purposes of determining the amount of backpay such employee is entitled to under section 1341(c) of title 31, United States Code.

5.

Limits on travel expenditures

(a)

Limits on official travel

(1)

Limitation

Except as provided in paragraph (2), during a Government shutdown no amounts may be obligated or expended for official travel by a covered officer or employee.

(2)

Exceptions

(A)

Return to DC

If a covered officer or employee is away from the seat of Government on the date on which a Government shutdown begins, funds may be obligated and expended for official travel by the covered officer or employee to return to the seat of Government.

(B)

Travel in National Capital region

During a Government shutdown, amounts may be obligated and expended for official travel by a covered officer or employee from one location in the National Capital region to another location in the National Capital region.

(b)

Restriction on use of campaign funds

Section 313 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30114) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(2), by striking for ordinary and inserting except as provided in subsection (d), for ordinary; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(d)

Restriction on use of campaign funds for official travel during lapse in appropriations

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), during a Government shutdown (as defined in section 2 of the Government Shutdown Accountability Act), a contribution or donation described in subsection (a) may not be obligated or expended for travel in connection with duties of the individual as a holder of Federal office.

(2)

Return to DC

If the individual is away from the seat of Government on the date on which a Government shutdown (as so defined) begins, a contribution or donation described in subsection (a) may be obligated and expended for travel by the individual to return to the seat of Government.

.

6.

Procedures in the Senate and House of Representatives

(a)

In general

During a Government shutdown, in the Senate and the House of Representatives—

(1)

it shall not be in order to move to proceed to any matter except for—

(A)

a measure making appropriations for the fiscal year during which the Government shutdown begins;

(B)

emergency legislation; or

(C)

a motion relating to determining or obtaining the presence of a quorum;

(2)

it shall not be in order to move to recess or adjourn for a period of more than 23 hours; and

(3)

at noon each day, the Presiding Officer shall direct the clerk to determine whether a quorum is present.

(b)

Waiver

Subsection (a) may only be waived or suspended upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members of the applicable House of Congress, duly chosen and sworn.