Bipartisan bill would withhold pay for president, lawmakers during shutdowns

Bipartisan bill would withhold pay for president, lawmakers during shutdowns
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A group of House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill that would withhold pay from the president, vice president and members of Congress during a government shutdown.

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) joined Reps. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP Conservatives seek to stifle new 'alt-right' movement steeped in anti-Semitism MORE (R-Texas) and Max RoseMax RoseHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democratic lawmaker introduces bill to tackle online terrorist activity Hillicon Valley: Critics press feds to block Google, Fitbit deal | Twitter takes down Hamas, Hezbollah-linked accounts | TikTok looks to join online anti-terrorism effort | Apple pledges .5B to affordable housing MORE (D-N.Y.) in introducing the measure.

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The lawmakers said in a statement announcing the legislation, known as the Solidarity in Salary Act of 2019, that the bill aims to “prevent and limit the duration of future shutdowns and ensure that lawmakers feel the harm they cause federal employees when they fail to fund the government.”

“Federal workers don’t get paid during a government shutdown. Neither should politicians,” Golden said in a statement. “This legislation will help prevent the American people from being political pawns for party leaders and help return sanity to the task of funding the government."

Under the legislation, daily pay for the president, vice president and lawmakers would be in escrow during a shutdown. The withheld pay would then be released after the government reopens.

Crenshaw said that “federal employees should never have to carry the burden caused by a dysfunctional government.”

“We should have to feel the very real effects of a shutdown, just as our fellow federal employees are forced to do," he added.

About 800,000 federal workers missed two consecutive paychecks during the 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. They are slated to receive back pay in the coming days.

More than a million federal contract workers stopped receiving income due to the shutdown, according to The Washington Post. Some of the lowest-paid contract workers who aren't guaranteed back pay for their unpaid services during the closure say they are struggling to pay their bills.

“Only in a town as broken as Washington do you still get paid when you don’t do your job,” Rose said. “That’s wrong, and it’s past time to make it right.”