Rep. Moran: Members should share pain of federal shutdown

A House Democrat introduced a measure Friday to prohibit members of Congress and the president from being paid during a government shutdown. 

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is sponsoring the companion bill to a measure introduced Thursday by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee.

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"If we’re going to throw federal employees, including our staffs, out on the street, we should be right there with them," Moran said. "In the event of a shutdown, members should be eating peanut butter and jelly like everyone else."

Under current law, legislators and the president continue receiving their paychecks during a shutdown.

Boxer discussed the Senate bill on the floor Thursday and has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to hotline it because of the "real" threat of a government shutdown as the divide widens between Democrats and Republicans on spending issues. 

"If the government is forced to shut down, members of Congress and the president should be treated the same way as all other federal employees," Boxer said. "We should not be paid. And to take it one step further, we should not be paid retroactively once the government reopens." 

House Republicans have proposed $61 billion in cuts to fiscal year 2011 spending levels included in the stopgap measure that will keep the government running through March 4. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he will refuse to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) if it doesn't include any spending cuts, in the case that the Senate and House are unable to reach an agreement before the deadline. 

The Senate left Washington late Thursday and the House remained in session Friday to continue working on the CR before leaving town for the weeklong Presidents Day recess. That leaves about four days, during the week of Feb. 28, to pass a bill that President Obama can sign, even if it's temporary.