Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, upped the ante in case of a possible government shutdown Thursday by introducing a bill to ensure members of Congress and the president do not receive paychecks during a shutdown.
“Why should a small class of people be treated differently than anyone else?” Boxer said in a briefing with reporters. “We should not be paid.”
Unlike other federal employees, members and the president get paid even if Congress fails to fund the government by drawing from a separate part in the budget.
If passed, the bill would also kick in if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, which some freshman Republican members oppose.
“The point is to say that if we, members of Congress fail in our responsibility to act like grown-ups to get this thing moving forward, we’re gonna pay a price, just like other people are, its not us and them its all of us together.”
Since Congress failed to pass a budget last year, the government has been funded through a series of short-term stopgap measures. The last funding bill expires March 4, and unless Republicans and Democrats can find an agreement on spending levels, the government will shut down.
Boxer has not whipped her bill but said a similar proposal she made when the government shut down 1n 1995 received “unanimous” support. The measure was scrapped in committee and never made it to the floor.
Boxer said she plans to speak with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid later this afternoon to request that he fast-tracks it through the Senate as a standalone measure.
Josh Kinney contributed to this report.