Senators Urge Speaker Boehner to Swiftly Pass Companion Bill in the House
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) today lauded the Senate’s unanimous vote to pass their legislation that would prevent Members of Congress and the President of the United States from being paid during a shutdown of the federal government.
Senator Boxer said, “If we fail to keep the government operating, which is our basic responsibility, then we don’t deserve a paycheck. I am hopeful that this legislation will help convince our colleagues not to shut down the government, and I urge Speaker Boehner to quickly pass this bill.”
“This is an important step for fairness that should also put more pressure on those threatening a government shutdown that could cause pain for millions of Americans,” said Senator Casey. “The House should quickly pass this legislation.”
Republican leaders have refused to take the threat of a government shutdown off the table, even though a shutdown would affect the lives of millions of Americans by disrupting Social Security checks, benefits for veterans and paychecks for our troops.
The legislation would prevent Members of Congress and the President from being paid retroactively after a government shutdown, and would also prevent them from being paid if the public debt limit is reached and the government defaults on its financial obligations.
Currently, Members of Congress and the President are treated differently from millions of other Federal Employees because they are paid through mandatory spending required by law (2 U.S.C. 31 and 3 U.S.C 102) rather than through the annual appropriations process.
The legislation fixes this inequity by saying that the President and Members of Congress “shall not receive basic pay for any period in which there is more than a 24 hour lapse in appropriations for any Federal agency or department as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or continuing resolution OR if the Federal Government is unable to make payments or meet obligations because the debt limit….has been reached.”
The bill, S. 388, was introduced in the Senate earlier this month by Senators Boxer and Casey and is co-sponsored by Senators Manchin (D-WV), Tester (D-MT), Nelson (D-NE), Bennet (D-CO), Warner (D-VA), Wyden (D-OR), Coons (D-DE), Harkin (D-IA), Hagan (D-NC), Menendez (D-NJ), Stabenow (D-MI), Merkley (D-OR) and Rockefeller (D-WV).
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced a similar bill.