During the last shutdown, some members of Congress voluntarily agreed to withhold their individual salary during the shutdown. This was done either by formally requesting to the House chief administrative officer that they not get paid salary during the shutdown, or by otherwise pledging to donate any salary earned during the shutdown to charity. For example,
However, in the run-up to January’s government shutdown, several bills were introduced to withhold salary payments from all Congress members during a government shutdown. Although none of the legislation passed before that shutdown, the next potential shutdown is now one day away, keeping the issue very much relevant. Since the 27th Amendment prevents congressional pay from being altered in the middle of a two-year session of Congress, any such legislation that passes would apply to future Congresses only — that is, starting in January 2019 or later.
The most popular version is the Pay Our Protectors Not Our Politicians Act, which would couple a lack of congressional pay with explicitly continuing federal government payments to military, Homeland Security officials, and death benefits to troops’ families.
It was introduced as H.R. 4852 by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ2). McSally formally requested that the House’s Chief Administrative Officer withhold her pay during the shutdown, through a letter she released on social media.
“It is unconscionable that the Democrats would shut down the government — and then pocket their paychecks after snatching pay out of the hands of our troops and our agents and officers guarding our border,” McSally said in a press release. “By shutting the government down over an unrelated issue [immigration/Dreamers], Democrats show that they are choosing those here illegally over the American heroes who are upholding our laws and protecting our country.”
The bill has 49 cosponsors: 48 Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ5). It awaits a possible vote in either the House Administration or Government Reform Committees.
The No Government No Pay Actwas introduced as S. 2327 by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
Heitkamp donated her salary from the government shutdown to the United Way in Bismarck, North Dakota.
“Hard working North Dakotans like our farmers and ranchers do everything they can to support their families and makes ends meet. If they don’t get the job done in the field, they don’t get paid, and the same should be true for their representatives in Congress,” Heitkamp said in a press release. “If members of Congress can’t fulfill their basic duty to keep the government open and provide the essential services Americans depend on, then they don’t deserve their paychecks. Period.”
The bill has nine Democratic cosponsors, and awaits a possible vote in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY22)
The No Work, No Pay Act was introduced as H.R. 4870 by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY22).
Tenney donated her salary from the government shutdown to the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center.
“This unnecessary shutdown being forced by Democrats today will hurt seniors, children, flood victims and military families, to advance their left-wing agenda,” Tenney said in a press release. “If Congress fails to do its job they too should forfeit their compensation. The American people sent us to Washington to solve problems, not create them. This is not time to deny the people who elected us to serve.”
The bill has three Republican cosponsors, and awaits a vote in either the House Administration or Government Reform Committees.