Manchin, Senate Democrats Call on Speaker Boehner to Immediately Hold a Vote on 'No Budget, No Pay' Bill
Manchin Cosponsored Legislation to Prevent Lawmakers from Receiving Pay if Government Shuts Down
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today joined with 16 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to immediately take up and pass legislation that would prevent Members of Congress and the President of the United States from being paid during a shutdown of the federal government.
“If Washington can’t figure out a commonsense, bipartisan plan to fund the government, no one will pay a higher price than hard-working families across West Virginia and the United States,” Senator Manchin said. “It defies all common sense to keep paying elected officials when the government isn’t doing its job. We must come together with commonsense budget priorities and cuts in the coming days to do what is right for our economy and ensure that we are keeping our promises to our seniors, our servicemembers, our veterans, and those who are counting on us.”
In the letter, the Senators point out that Speaker Boehner has repeatedly refused to take up the measure, which was approved by the Senate unanimously a month ago. Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of the Senate legislation.
The Senators wrote, “It is essential that we work together to avoid a government shutdown, but if we cannot do our jobs and keep the government functioning, we should not get paid.”
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. The bill also would prevent Members of Congress and the President from being paid retroactively after a government shutdown. Prior to the 1995 government shutdown, Congressman Boehner expressed his support for an identical bill.
In the House, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) introduced a similar bill in February which is being held in committee until Speaker Boehner schedules a vote.
The full text of the Senators’ letter is below:
March 30, 2011
The Honorable John Boehner
United States House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner:
Nearly one month has passed since Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together and unanimously passed S. 388, legislation to prohibit Members of Congress and the President from receiving any pay during a government shutdown.
Despite the Senate’s bipartisan effort, and requests from members for immediate action, you have taken no steps to hold a vote on this important legislation.
As you know, in the event of a government shutdown, Members of Congress and the President would be treated differently from millions of 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.
Recently, a number of House Republicans have publicly stated that a government shutdown is unavoidable, and have gone so far as to significantly downplay the negative impact it would have on our economy.
Since members of your caucus are openly predicting a government shutdown, the time to pass this bill is now. Members who want to shutdown the government should not continue to receive a paycheck while the rest of the nation suffers the consequences. Members of Congress and the President should be treated no differently than every other federal employee; we too should have to face the consequences of our actions.
While appearing on the CNN program “Crossfire” in 1995, you offered your support for a bill that is identical to S.388, so it is unclear why you have not scheduled a vote. The closer we get to the expiration of the Continuing Resolution without passage of this legislation, the more it becomes apparent that your primary interest is in protecting the paychecks of your colleagues.
It is essential that we work together to avoid a government shutdown, but if we cannot do our jobs and keep the government functioning, we should not get paid.
We again request that the House immediately take up and pass this legislation in the same bipartisan spirit demonstrated by the Senate. We ask for your immediate response.
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