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In Government Shutdown, President and Congress Would Still Get Paid

4 years ago
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As government agencies prepare their lists of employees who would be furloughed during a possible government shutdown, one fortunate group of Washingtonians doesn't have to worry about such things.

Under current law, the president, who earns $400,000 annually, and members of Congress, who draw $174,000, will still receive a paycheck during a budget impasse because their salaries are paid with mandatory, not appropriated, spending.

Not that the law couldn't change.

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) stipulating that the president and members of Congress would not be paid if the government shuts down over a spending impasse or if the country exceeds its debt limit, which budget experts say would happen later this year if Congress does not vote to raise the national debt ceiling.

"They shouldn't get their pay and they shouldn't get retroactive pay because this is a very basic responsibility that we have to keep the government running," Boxer said Monday of lawmakers taking home salaries during a shutdown.

Of course, the House and President Obama must approve the bill, too. On Monday, Boxer, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and the other co-sponsors of the legislation sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling on him to bring the measure up for a vote as soon as possible. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has introduced the measure in the lower chamber.

"We request that the House immediately take up and pass this legislation in the same bipartisan spirit demonstrated by the Senate," the senators wrote to the speaker. "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."
Tagged: Barbara Boxer

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Mickey Moist-gorham

I feel that our representatives are being over paid as is. I feel the we should reduce the number of State Representatives they are a waste and spend more time debating on the rights of the unborn not the living, how they are going to get goody-goody with the wealthiest of the country and be the puppets to do whatever the Koch brothers and big banks and big corps want done in their favors.
they are a waste of the taxpayers money and if their is a shut down og government they shouldn''t be paid.
PSS you might want to pass this to President Obama if he doesn't stick his nose in on these issues of whats going on in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn., Fl. he won't be re-elected he's letting his party down big time I was a faithful but I am questioning wheither or not another Democrat should be chosen to run against him, believe me I am not the only one that feels this way!!!

March 17 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While I agree that congress gets paid a ridiculous amount and I DO agee that they need to perform their basic function of creating a budget, we need to make sure to have some of the facts. Unlike the comment before mine, congressmembers do NOT get full benefits after serving one term. That is incorrect. In the CRS Report for Congress, the policy was laid out in which it states that their eligibility for pensions are based on their time served. To recieve this full pension that people believe they get after one term is not until they are 62 with at least 5 years of service, 50 and at least 20 years of service, or any age with at least 25 years of service. Reduced pensions are available to Members at the minimum retirement age of 55 to 57 (depending on the year they were born) who have completed at least 10 years of service. And, yes, they did freeze pay for federal employees (me being one of them), but Congress opted out of a pay raise for themselves unanimously for 2011. Actually they haven't accepted the pay raise since 2009, I believe. But I will have to verify that.
Like I said, I do believe that congress gets paid waaay too much, but we need to know the facts before we make arguements. I believe that Congress would be much more likely to pass legislation that benefits their constituents if they understood where the people were coming from. Money changes people's opinions. I am a purest and believe that people should want to be in Congress because they believe in democracy and this is a disgrace to democracy. did you know that Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention believed that Congress should not be paid for their service to ensure pure, uncorrupted legislation? OBVIOUSLY he wasn't supported.
I support the legislation proposed in this article. In the real world, if you don't do your don't get paid. plain and simple.

March 14 2011 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gee do you think that the new speaker will include the comments hear since he "Listens to the people and responds to their will"

March 10 2011 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

GREAT IDEA!!!!!! Now if she will only introduce a bill to give us all the same health care and retirement benefits as they have ( Did you know that these clowns retire at FULL benefits after only one term???) they would solve both the pension and health care problems! Next they need to give back the huge raises that they voted for themselves while freezing raises for all other government workers we will have solved the unemployment and budget short fall!! There is something about being in the same soup as everyone else to really feel our pain and find some real solutions to the problems!!!!

March 10 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would be really amused by the revelation that Congress does not have "to stay after school" when late on their a-rith-me-tic assignment (our budget) if it were not so juvenile -- by middle school most kids learn that not completing their homework on time has consequences and that perpetual tardiness sends them straight to the principal's office (I should know!). Adults know no work results in no pay or worse, and they will be fined if their taxes are late. If so, how far have our congressmen progressed in their lil' old school house on the hill? One wonders. Perhaps America's schools are really in trouble.

Oh, and one might add, Congressmen and women were fully covered by their most excellent health plans when many of them voted against a new healthcare plan for their constituents.

Where are those "checks and balances" that we hear so much about (and from whom?) operating here? We should all wonder.

Time to get our pitchforks, torches and ol' Nellie out of the barn, put her in harness and head to Warshington, maybe.

Dear Editor, you may take out the last sentence, of course. The image of outraged citizens marching on the house wherein lurked the monster (Congress) was just too delicious to delete.

Bill Heaney, Oshkosh, Wisc.

March 10 2011 at 8:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Until lawmakers have to live by the same rules, the same burdens, the same consequences, as the American citizenry, there will never be integrity in government. They exempt themselves from much of what falls on the rest of us, and they seemingly are incapable of relating to the impact their self-serving activities have on the majority.

March 09 2011 at 11:32 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Why should they get paid???? They are not doing their jobs. If I did that I would be fired. Time to start treating members of congress and the senate like every other American in this country. Buy your own health insurance stop the expense accounts, and no more lifetime benifits. When your done with your "job" the benefits stop period, end of story. Think of all the money that would save.

March 09 2011 at 8:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I never thought I would feel like cheering for Barbara Boxer. I wonder if this is all a big chicken game and she thinks the GOP would never let that happen.

March 08 2011 at 9:35 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Well, of course the president and congress will still be paid. Does anyone really think that the rules actually apply to our so-called leaders? Don't be rediculous! If they followed their own rules, this country would be in a lot better shape than it is.

March 08 2011 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Not a chance they could just cut programs and pork belly spending and lower the spending so the debt ceiling would get lowered and thus eventually we see not only a balanced Budget but a Budget that is lower than the monies coming in so they start to pay on the interest of the National Debt and then someday we actually see an attempt to start to pay it down. We all know they will never pay if off. Cuts in Foreign Aid also get cut especially to Muslim Countries that because of their Oil Wealth are actually expieriencing better budget years than the U.S. How about we stop trying to police the world. Think of the money we could use to pay on the National Debt. We should also lower our contribution to the United nations and demand they pay back the monies the over collcted illegally. That was in the hundred of millions also. Reported once and then buried. Better Yet in 2012 we elect all Tea Party Candidates!!!

March 08 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to csmjwoody's comment

Perfect idea. Why can we see it so plainly but those is Washington cannot?

March 08 2011 at 9:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

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