Boehner: Congress shouldn't be paid in event of shutdown

Lawmakers should not be paid if the government shuts down, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday.

Boehner expressed support for legislation that would prevent members from drawing a paycheck should Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal, by day's end Friday, to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

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"Members of Congress are elected by their constituents. If there is a government shutdown, not only will Congress not be paid, but federal employees will not be paid," he said during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

The Speaker's endorsement of the idea comes after a number of lawmakers urged leaders to adopt the principle this week.

Over 20 senators this week made public statements in favor of the idea, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) even said he would donate his salary to charity or give it back to the Treasury if the government shuts down. 

Both chambers have passed separate pieces of legislation cutting off lawmaker pay in case of a shutdown, but a single bill has not advanced through both chambers and been signed by President Obama.

"We’ll have to take a look at that," Boehner said.

"If Speaker Boehner were really serious about preventing Members of Congress from being paid during a government shutdown, he would immediately pass our ‘no budget, no pay’ bill," responded Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who sponsored the Senate's congressional pay bill.

During his wide-ranging interview with ABC, Boehner also expressed confidence both sides could eventually reach a deal on a 2011 budget.

"I feel good about eventually getting to a deal," he said. "I’d like to have it over tomorrow. My colleagues would like to have it over tomorrow. ... Where we’ve decided that it’s time to deal with the big issues that face the American people."

He also defended himself against Democratic accusations that he is being bossed around by conservative Tea Party activists pushing for deep spending cuts this year.

“Listen, there’s no daylight between the Tea Party and me,” he said. "What they want is they want us to cut spending. They want us to deal with this crushing debt that’s going to crush the future for our kids and grandkids. There’s no daylight there."


More on the shutdown showdown:
White House contingency plans | Obama will veto stopgap
Boehner: More than one issue | Cantor: House stays in
On The Money blog


-- This post was updated at 1:01 p.m.