Rounds Stands Ground On Federal Funding

Sep 10, 2015

A United States Senator from South Dakota says lawmakers have less than two weeks to figure out how to fund the federal government. September 30th is the deadline to appropriate money to government programs.

Senator Mike Rounds says he doesn’t support simply extending appropriations already in place without other changes attached. SDPB’s Kealey Bultena asks him about that position.

"You said that they may have the votes to do a continuing resolution even if you don’t vote for it. But what happens if they’re one vote shy of a continuing resolution and you’re saying, ‘No, I’m not going to vote for it.’ I mean, in that circumstance, are you still holding your ground that you need those policy provisions in place or they don’t have your support?" Bultena asks. 

Rounds replies.

“That’s correct. My message is that we need to do some policy provisions. We have to take some approach with regard to an appropriations process. We have to get back to actually doing an appropriations plan. I’ve made this known now for close to two months, and, during that time period, we have had one proposed vote for cloture on the appropriations bill for defense. It went down. There have been no other attempts and, to the best of my knowledge, we have yet to find any middle ground or any discussion on middle ground, and it’s going to be business as usual unless we start the process of saying we’re going to get our work done on time, and I think the people of the United States expect that,” Rounds says.

He continues.

“And here’s the other part of this. If they actually shut down government, it would be one thing. But when what they really do is pick and choose which programs they want to try to make life miserable for the American public on, it’s a different story. It’s probably true that on fish and wildlife game production areas they probably will end up paying time-and-a-half overtime to US Fish & Wildlife officials to stand out there and make sure people don’t hunt on those lands during this time period because government is closed down, but it’ll be for show and that’s about it. Emergency services continue on. Armed services activities continue on. The government actually continues on in terms of paying out entitlement benefits and so forth.”

Rounds says a government shutdown is "of concern," but he says lawmakers have more choices than deciding to continue current federal funding as-is or forcing a shutdown.