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Saturday, October 22, 2016

In an effort to inject some fairness into the government shutdown — and to score some political points with a frustrated electorate — U.S. Representative Rick Nolan (D-MN) has introduced the “No Government — No Pay Act” of 2013, which would bar members of Congress from getting paid until they pass legislation funding the federal government.

“The inability of this Congress to collaborate, compromise, and get things done has led me to introduce legislation to prohibit Members from being paid when failure to do their job results in a government shutdown,” Congressman Nolan said in a statement. “In the event of a shutdown, Congress must work around the clock without pay to resolve a budget crisis.”

“It’s time for Congress to start living in the real world – where you either do your job, or you don’t get paid,” he added. “The American people sent this Congress to Washington to use common sense – to collaborate, compromise, solve problems and govern – not to shut down the federal government. It’s time to restore Regular Order and put an end to government by crisis.”

Presently, members of Congress get paid a yearly salary of $174,000. Their paychecks are not threatened by the government shutdowns as a result of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which stipulates that their salaries cannot change until the start of a new term.

Nolan’s bill echoes efforts by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA), who proposed similar bills in January 2013 and March 2011. The 2011 bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent, but was never voted on by the House.

There’s plenty of reason to believe that voters would endorse changing the law; a recent Public Policy Polling survey found that strong majorities believe that members of Congress are overpaid, and 74 percent agree that those who vote to repeal Obamacare should give up their own government-funded health care, suggesting that they would also be amenable to Nolan’s proposal.

Don’t expect the paralyzed House to give the No Government — No Pay Act much consideration, though. Even if gathering the huge numbers of votes needed to change the law were possible, House leadership has shown no indication that it is willing to change the rules. Witness assistant whip, Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) awkward evasion when asked if she would give up her salary during a shutdown:

Some lawmakers are willing to stand in solidarity with furloughed federal workers, however. The Washington Post is keeping a running list of those who have pledged to donate or refuse their salaries throughout the shutdown; as of noon Wednesday, it included 65 members of Congress.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • tdm3624

    If you are “principled” enough to shut down the government then be principled enough to not get paid.

  • Budjob

    Eliminate ALL PAY AND BENEFITS NOW,NOW,NOW,!!!!! These people should be charged with TREASON!!!

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Since these Republicans have become deranged enough to force a government shutdown, they all deserve to forgo any income from said government, since terminal mental instability is a non-income earning condition.

    Yes, they should be charged with Treason – mental impairment or not!

  • Mark Forsyth

    It’s time to burn down the house. Matches anyone?

  • gewhite524

    WE shouldn’t have to pay any taxes. There is no representation in Washington for the working class american citizen. “Taxation without Representation” is a treasonous act.

  • sleeprn01

    Lets be real, $174,000 per year is chump change to these guys. They have their lobbyist, their mega-donors, and their insider trade deals to keep their bellies full. They are still baffled as to why other government workers can’t survive without their pay checks. They live in a bubble without a clue what it’s like to need a job to pay their bills.

  • 1standlastword

    When this is over I’d like to see a Senate investigation to assess if some legal action can be taken and sanctions set against these recalcitrant buffoons

    I mean seriously what recourse do we have here???

    Can lawmakers gang up and do anything they want without consequence??

    It’s not their job to sack the POTUS but that is what they are constantly trying to do AND they are putting average Americans in the breech of REAL serious harmful consequences!!!!!

    I doubt that you nor I can find one single Tea Party constituent who can calculate (honestly) just how dangerous it is to escalate obstruction to this level. I’ll bet they celebrate this: even if it hurts them they probably feel the pain is worth the cause.

    Somebody should step up and discipline these people

  • johninPCFL

    This is a class of law that has been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional. Like criminals in prison, work may not be extracted without pay. The other name for this is slavery.
    The only solution to electing people who don’t do their job is to elect somebody else next time.

    • GrannyKits

      The problem here is “just” that there are so very many voters who are either clueless or have been “brainwashed” by equally clueless legislators and their Koch -funded teapartiers to understand the harm. The low level of education in this country (25th – 27th worldwide) works to make so many people very gullible as well.