Why should Congress get paid for not doing their job? That’s the question Democratic Representative Rick Nolan from Minnesota is asking. Nolan introduced a bill yesterday that would block members of Congress from being paid during the government shutdown.
The bill, titled “No Government, No Pay Act,” would prevent members of Congress from being paid as long as the government continues to be shut down.
Representative Nolan explained his proposal:
“The inability of this Congress to collaborate, compromise, and get things done has led me to introduce legislation to prohibit Members from being paid when failure to do their job results in a government shutdown. It’s time for Congress to start living in the real world where you either do your job, or you don’t get paid.”
Sadly, the bill probably violates the 27th Amendment and doesn’t stand much chance at passing. But even if it didn’t violate anything, I’m sure most members of Congress would soundly reject such a proposal.
Though this Republican-forced shutdown has put 800,000 workers on an unpaid furlough, those responsible for shutting the government down will continue to get their salaries paid to them in full. Something I’m sure most Americans soundly reject.
It’s also unclear right now if those workers who are furloughed will receive backpay once the shutdown is over. That will be left up to Congress to decide.
It’s quite ironic that Republicans are still being paid during the shutdown considering they recently voted to cut $39 billion from SNAP benefits. Republicans often claim that there are too many Americans who simply refuse to work, instead deciding to live off government benefits. Yet there Republicans are shutting down the government, refusing to do their jobs—and still being paid in full by the taxpayers. Now to be fair, both sides are being paid in full — but this shutdown is the fault of Republicans, not Democrats or President Obama.
However, some lawmakers have pledged to donate their pay during the shutdown to charity. Though I must stress that only a small percentage have agreed to do this. Around 91 of the 535 members of Congress have agreed to it so far, and I sincerely hope that more follow their lead.
So while Nolan’s proposal probably won’t have any real chance at ever being passed, and might simply be unconstitutional, it does stress a point I think most Americans overwhelmingly agree with.
It’s insane that hundreds of thousands of government workers are forced to be furloughed by these childish antics, while those responsible for the shutdown are being paid in full.
And even though it’s largely symbolic, Nolan’s bill at least seems to represent the true feelings among most Americans.