Senators introduce bill to withhold congressional pay during shutdown

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Though federal employees won’t get a paycheck during the governmment shutdown, members of Congress will — unless they specify otherwise.

Ten Democratic senators on Friday introduced a bill that would withhold pay for members of Congress during the government shutdown.

The legislation comes from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.),  along with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.),  Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

“It’s wrong that members of Congress would still get paid in the event of a shutdown while paychecks for members of our military could be disrupted,” Stabenow said in a statement. “This bill ensures members of Congress will not get paid and another bill I have cosponsored makes sure our troops will.  Even if these bills do not pass, I will donate my salary for every single day a shutdown occurs.”

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Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) introduced a companion bill in the House.

Several members  of Congress have also announced individual plans to withhold their pay.

“I have been informed that despite a lapse of appropriations and current government shutdown, under current law, members of Congress would continue to receive their salary,” Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) wrote Friday in a letter to the House chief administrative officer. “Since I do not agree with that policy, please withhold my pay until an appropriations agreement has taken effect.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) also said he would withhold his pay, while Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said that he would donate his pay to the Mercy Health Clinic in Maryland.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) Sunday morning tweeted that he would also donate his congressional salary during the shutdown to charity.

Meanwhile, several members have introduced other legislation that would ensure federal employees receive back pay when the shutdown ends and Congress agrees to an appropriations agreement.

The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) introduced ahead of Friday’s shutdown, now has 84 co-sponsors.

And 48 senators have sponsored another bill that provides continuing appropriations to pay members of the military and provide death benefits during a government shutdown.

Rep. Betty McCullom (D-Minn.) introduced a companion bill in the House.

Neither the House nor the Senate has taken up any of these bills yet. One day into the government shutdown, an appropriations deal in Congress remained elusive.

The Senate returned at 1 p.m. and the House at 2 p.m. to continue negotiations.