In the event of future federal government shutdowns, one congressman is looking to punish lawmakers for their negligence in allowing the shutdown to occur by cutting congressional salaries during a shutdown.
Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, who shares leadership of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats in Congress, believed that lawmakers should not receive full pay if they are unable to do their work and allow the federal government to close, The Hill reported.
“In the real world, if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. In Congress, we are tasked with keeping the government running. Therefore, if the government shuts down we should not get paid,” Schrader wrote in a statement.
The most recent government shutdown occurred in the fall of 2013 – when current Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz notoriously filibustered legislation that would have funded the government and the Affordable Care Act, the latter of which he opposed.
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According to the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, members of Congress are not allowed to raise or lower their salaries. However, members are allowed to change the pay scale of future lawmakers, which Rep. Schrader aims to do.
If his legislation passes and is enacted this year or the next, lawmakers' pay will be held in escrow accounts until the last day of Congress in the event of a government shutdown. After the 114th Congress ends, however, lawmakers will lose pay for every day the government is shutdown, the Hill reports.
Originally proposed in October 2013 during the most recent government shutdown, Schrader’s legislation did not gain traction in either chamber of Congress. He was one of many members of Congress to give away his entire salary during the period of the shutdown.
“I firmly believe that if members of Congress fail to perform their most basic duty in passing a budget, then they do not deserve to be paid. It is in that vein that I will be donating the congressional salary I collect during the shutdown to a local Oregon charity to be named later,” Schrader said at the time.
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Most recently, Rep. Schrader has made headlines for supporting Republican measures in the U.S. House of Representatives. In January, he voted with the Republican majority to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought oil from Canada to Texas and created thousands of jobs. President Barack Obama later vetoed the legislation.