Washington, DC / Bilingual Weekly
As President Obama signed a $4-billion immediate spending cuts bill that bought a two-week stay on a possible government shutdown, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) challenged the Republican-controlled House to share the same pains millions of federal employees are to endure if a Budget compromise is not reached by March 18, 2011.
The Budget —to fund government operations for October 2010–September 2011— has reached one impasse after another, living off “continuing resolutions” but time is running out.
The Senators’ letter (see full content below) urges U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to pass the same legislation the Senate unanimously approved this week that would prevent Members of Congress and the President of the United States from being paid during a shutdown of the federal government.
“The measure would fix a basic inequity that allows Members of Congress and the President to be paid during a government shutdown – while millions of other Federal employees are not – because lawmakers and the President are paid through mandatory spending rather than annual appropriations,” said Boxer, “the bill also would prevent Members of Congress and the President from being paid retroactively after a government shutdown.”
Discounting a 2-day weather-related shutdown in the winter of 2010, the last real government shutdown lasted 21 days — November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996— caused by a similar Budget conflict between Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress.
Virginia Congressman Jim Moran has already introduced the bill —similar to one already passed by the Senate— to the House of Representatives.The full text of the Senators’ letter is below: March 4, 2011 The Honorable John Boehner Speaker United States House of Representatives H-232 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 Dear Speaker Boehner: On Tuesday, March 1, 2011 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together and unanimously passed S. 388, our legislation to prohibit Members of Congress and the President from receiving any pay during a government shutdown. This legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives for its consideration. Right now, in the event of a government shutdown, Members of Congress and the President would be treated differently from other Federal employees. While Federal employees would not get paid, Members of Congress and the President would still receive a paycheck because we are paid through mandatory spending, rather than through annual appropriations. We believe there is no reason that Members of Congress and the President should be free from the pain that would be felt by our nation if the government were to shut down. If we cannot do our jobs and keep the government functioning, we should not get paid. We request that the House immediately take up and pass this legislation in the same bipartisan spirit demonstrated by the Senate. A government shutdown would be a disaster for our nation and for our economy. We must resolve our differences to avoid a shutdown – and if we cannot, none of us should receive a paycheck while the rest of the nation suffers the consequences. Sincerely, Barbara Boxer United States Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. United States Senator
- Senate Dems to Boehner: Strip lawmaker pay in case of shutdown (thehill.com)
- A possible federal government shutdown could impact the midstate (pennlive.com)
- #4 Cliff Notes: Government Shutdown?? Probably Not (passionpoliticsandme.wordpress.com)
- Government Shutdown Averted (For Now) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Senate bill blocks lawmaker pay during a shutdown (sfgate.com)
- No government shutdown yet (one.org)
- House passes bill to avert government shutdown (reuters.com)
- Hit Them Where It Hurts: Senate Dems Say Lawmakers Should Not Be Paid If Government Shutdown Occurs (blogs.abcnews.com)