Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would "put an end to future government shutdowns and protect federal government workers from being used as pawns in policy negotiations."
The Stop STUPIDITY Act - short for Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years - "takes the aggressive but necessary step of forcing the President and Congress to do the jobs they were elected to do,” Warner's office said in a statement.
For those keeping score at home, yes, the word "Coming" in the bill's name adds an extra "C" not contained within 'STUPIDITY," but extra points for effort.
“It is disturbing that the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of workers are at the mercy of dysfunction in Washington," the statement read. "Workers, business owners and taxpayers are currently paying the price of D.C. gridlock and my legislation will put an end to that.”
The bill "would fund all aspects of the government except for the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President – effectively forcing Congress and the White House to come to the negotiating table without putting at risk the economy or hurting the American public."
That means in the event of a future shutdown, Congress and the president would go without pay.
"Stop the STUPIDITY," Warner wrote on Twitter. "End the shutdown. Pay federal workers and contractors."
Stop the STUPIDITY. End the shutdown. Pay federal workers and contractors. https://t.co/ozdB3Kadbu— Mark Warner (@Mark Warner)1548187368.0
Warner represents a substantial chunk of the 800,000 government employees that have been furloughed or are working without pay due to President Donald Trump's third government shutdown, now the longest in history as it concludes its 32nd day.
The Stop STUPIDITY Act garnered wide support on social media. The name was a hit.
@MarkWarner Sir please do... to aid in your efforts I sent Mitch McConnel a quick GIF of school house rock in case… https://t.co/Wu8C9n8QPs— Kitty (@Kitty)1548191168.0
@MarkWarner Very much like the idea of removing federal workers as pawns in political games. Thank you, @MarkWarner… https://t.co/y4dHO9Jddc— Indivisible San Jose (@Indivisible San Jose)1548190529.0
@MarkWarner Thanks for keeping it real, Senator Warner. 🤛— Kpowers (@Kpowers)1548191515.0
@MarkWarner This is awesome!— ❤️🧡💛Anne Rose 💚💙💜 loves her wife. (@❤️🧡💛Anne Rose 💚💙💜 loves her wife.)1548189484.0
@MarkWarner You nailed the name of it, Senator........thanks— HokieHoos (@HokieHoos)1548188998.0
@MarkWarner I'm so happy you're our senator— Shannon Byrd (@Shannon Byrd)1548188659.0
Others, however, question the constitutionality of the legislation.
The Constitution mandates congressional and executive pay and gives Congress the power of the purse.
@MaggieRicker @vmarolt @mkraju @AshaRangappa_ It's a good point and to Devil's Advocate myself here's an article ci… https://t.co/gRIBhdIFvM— 🆘 אני צריך הירוק (@🆘 אני צריך הירוק)1548188971.0
@mkraju @AshaRangappa_ Ok but also there's a good reason we don't defund Congress during a shutdown.— 🆘 אני צריך הירוק (@🆘 אני צריך הירוק)1548187810.0
Still, the economic cost of a prolonged shutdown - now into the billions of dollars - is fueling desperation on both sides of the aisle.
@MarkWarner Thank you Senator. I am proud to be your constituent. This legislation - which should not be needed, bu… https://t.co/a0i9nIeKtg— Boarding Soon (@Boarding Soon)1548187572.0
@MarkWarner Do whatever you can to get the government open. This is a national security crisis!— Virginia Blue (@Virginia Blue)1548191553.0
@MarkWarner If the shutdown is beginning to cause a national security issue, doesn't that warrant an investigation… https://t.co/5ykvEOYguS— George Evans (@George Evans)1548193652.0
The president "proudly" shut down the government on December 22 because Congress - at the time controlled by Republicans - refused to indulge the erection of Trump's border wall.
Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) have made 10 bipartisan offers to reopen the government. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has scheduled a vote for Thursday on bills to reopen the federal government from both parties.
Whether Warner's bill will ever see a vote is anybody's guess.