Though we all have our opinions on the government shutdown, one Democratic House representative has found something that we can all agree on. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would suspend Congress’ paychecks for the duration of the shutdown. Will you join me in a brief round of applause? The “No Government – No Pay Act” would make the members of Congress do the same thing that other affected federal employees must do: work for an IOU rather than their actual paycheck.
Of course, since most of them are already millionaires it probably won’t affect them much.
Why Rep. Rick Nolan introduced the ‘No Government, No Pay’ act in response to the government shutdown
Rick Nolan explained why he introduced the bill on his website:
“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 … if other working people are to go without pay, and important government services are shut down – jeopardizing jobs and our economic recovery – then the Congress responsible for the mess should not be paid either. It’s time for Congress to start living in the real world – where you either do your job, or you don’t get paid. 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.”
Of course, there is the 27th amendment to be considered. It encoded that congressional compensation can not be changed until a House election, and could derail Rick Nolan’s bill. How nice for Congress. So, we’ll see what happens to this bill. Meanwhile, the federal workers who are not being paid now might not even get back pay. Yep, that’s right, it’s up to Congress. Great.
Some members of Congress are way ahead of the curve on this. On Wednesday, several Representatives and Senators said that they would either refuse their pay or donate it to charity for the duration of the shutdown. We can applaud these congresspersons and hope that the rest of their colleagues follow suit. That way, we don’t even have to worry about the bill passing. Looking at this list, we can note names that aren’t there (looking at you, Michele Bachmann!) but the presence of some names is surprising: John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Darryl Issa … I didn’t expect to see them. I’m glad that they are jumping on the bandwagon even though I’m somewhat suspicious of their reasons.
Derek Kilmer supports Rick Nolan’s ‘No Government, No Pay’ Act: “I am giving up my pay for the duration of a government shutdown.”
“I am giving up my pay for the duration of a government shutdown. I am dead set against a shutdown because it will have serious effects on our economy and because many people rely on services provided by federal agencies. The fact that some in Congress would risk a shutdown in order to score political points demonstrates why Congress is currently held in lower regard than head lice.”
That’s a pretty good appraisal of the situation. After this debacle, that might be a level to which they can only aspire. Though it’s just an 80-member caucus that is causing this madness, unfortunately all the members of Congress will feel the blow-back. Even the ones who will forgo their paycheck in solidarity with those 800,000 federal workers.