Vulnerable Republican asks to pause his pay until House completes budget

Vulnerable Republican asks to pause his pay until House completes budget
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A freshman House Republican who faces a tough reelection in November is asking that his pay be withheld until the chamber passes a budget resolution this year.

Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) said he has asked the House’s chief administrative officer to withhold his salary, starting from the time Congress missed the April 15 statutory deadline to pass a budget. Under Young’s request, his salary would be reinstated when the House adopts a new budget or at the end of this year’s session of Congress.

Young told constituents in a Thursday newsletter he wanted to adhere to the No Budget, No Pay policy that became law for a year in 2013. Under that statute, salaries for members of Congress would have been held in escrow if they didn’t pass a budget by the April 15 deadline.

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But because the Constitution’s 27th Amendment prohibits any law that changes lawmakers’ salaries during their current terms, members of Congress are limited in how they can turn down their paychecks to make political statements. That means Young will receive his full paycheck eventually, regardless of whether his request is granted.

“I have made this decision because it is the right thing to do,” Young said. “I am upholding the basic commonsense principle to "do what you say you mean — and mean what you say.”

The House Democrats's campaign arm dismissed Young's move as a way to mitigate fallout over the GOP's inability to pass a budget this year.

“Hardworking Iowans would be better served if the congressman actually passed a budget, rather than creating convenient talking points to deal with the fallout of the Republican failure to do their job," said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Both the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate Young’s district as a “toss-up” in this year’s election. The Des Moines-area district was represented by a Republican, former Rep. Tom Latham, for two decades, but narrowly went for President Obama twice.

Multiple bills have been introduced over the past year to reinstate No Budget, No Pay, which Young has co-sponsored. Rep. Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanVirginia Port: Gateway to the economic growth Republican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Overnight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland MORE (R-Va.) reintroduced legislation last month to coincide with the introduction of this year’s House GOP spending blueprint.

However, Republicans have been unable to pass a budget this year due to internal divisions over whether to backtrack on last year’s bipartisan budget deal.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas MORE (R-Wis.) voted for No Budget, No Pay three years ago. But when asked last month if the lawmakers’ pay should be withheld if they don’t pass a budget, Ryan said: "I support passing a budget. I’ll just leave it at that."

Salaries for members of the House and Senate start at $174,000 annually for the rank and file. Members of leadership earn more, with the Speaker making the biggest salary, at $223,500.  

— This post was updated at 5:32 p.m.