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Medved: Will shutdown be America’s last ever?

Glacier National Park officials’ main concern upon returning to work this week was in assessing how far behind the shutdown left them in their seasonal hiring process. The Montana park’s year-round staff of 100 swells by another 400 to 500 starting in April. (AP Photo/Matt Volz, File)

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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