Boxer’s bill: No paycheck for members of Congress or president if government shuts down

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.

(Harry Reid says a shutdown is “a possibility.” Read more.)

“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.

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  • emem

    Has “h” frozen over? After her dressing down of the president of the black chamber of commerce, the general, etc……

    Finally the perpetual loudmouth has said something that isn’t nonsense. Finally she gets it – she’s a non-essential employee. Too bad it wasn’t her idea, it was Gabby’s idea last year. She proposed pay cuts, etc for Congress.

  • krjohnson

    It’s a nice start, Barb, but I think we can do better. And not just in case of a government shutdown!

    I propose that the States that sent the Senators should pay them. This will provide state legislatures a sort of leash for their Senators even if they are popularly elected. The Senate was intended to represent the interests of the states and I think that will go a long way to doing that. If you are a senator from, say, Nebraska and you want to vote for Obamacare then fine. But you probably won’t be getting paid for the rest of your tenure if your state legislature is vehemently against it.

    I propose that the members of the House be paid the average annual household income of the district that they represent. Perhaps 150% or so, since they are probably higher skilled, but it should be linked in some way. This will help them to have a better understanding of what the average people in their district are going through, helping them to better represent the interests of their district.

    • Scrap Iron

      What is needed, is repeal of the 17th amendment.
      Senators are supposed to represent the interests of the state, not necessarily the people of the state. That’s the representative’s job.

      • krjohnson

        I’d be all for that too, but I think this method would be easier to get through and accomplish basically the same thing.

  • RM

    No, we’ll pay her. Just take away her title…ma’am.

  • southernandproud

    come folks, she knows they wouldn’t be shut down long enough for her to miss her paycheck. If she did miss a few paychecks, it wouldn’t change her lavish lifestyle one bit. I say shut it down!

  • Realist4U

    Yes, and using the same logic…why do the politicians not have to use Obamacare?

  • 12Dave965

    Why stop there, how about no paychecks for the congress(their staff, yes I include staff won’t be to eager to bring forward some pet project if it means you don’t get your paycheck) or the President(his staff) when they pass a budget that runs a deficit. Also no time vested toward their pensions for all years that are unbalanced(congress can receive pensions equal to their current pay, based on years of service). You think they might stop listening to a couple of special interests, when their spending sprees hurt their wallets?

  • riseabove

    Don’t be fooled by Boxer’s latent nobility, people. If they had of focused on balancing the budget the past two years instead of spending like crazed Vegas winners, making backroom deals and cramming unwanted stimulus and healthcare bills down our throats then they wouldn’t be in this mess and people dependent on Social Security wouldn’t be sitting home wondering if they’re going to get evicted in April.