Wednesday, April 6, 2011

GOP House Members Want to Get Paid During Government Shutdown

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how Jim Moran introduced legislation that would make sure Members of Congress didn't get paid during a government shutdown. The bill seemed like commonsense – if Congress was going to cause a government shutdown that would prevent federal workers to receive a paycheck, shouldn’t members of Congress share in the sacrifice. It would essentially be their inability to do their job that lead to the so many workers receiving a furlough after all. Apparently there are a number of Republicans in the House of Representatives, however, think they should be able to keep collecting a paycheck while the rest of the federal workforce suffers due to their refusal to compromise.

Although the Senate passed a companion bill that was introduced by Senator Boxer, the House has refused to actually pass Moran’s legislation. Want to know why? NBC did a little investigating and report that many Republican Members of Congress simply don’t want to part with a paycheck.
There are a variety of reasons, but one that is mentioned constantly is that many newer members of Congress quit their jobs to run for office.

Quite frankly, they say they need the money.

As freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) told constituents last week: "I guarantee most of you, I have more debt than all of you. With six kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I'm living high off the hog, I've got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now."
If you were looking for a prime example of why people think Congress is out of touch with the public, Sean Duffy would probably be it. As he’s complaining about how he has to pay his bills, he’s raking in $174,000 a year. That’s about double what the average federal worker makes, but they’ll still have to pay their bills if they’re furloughed due to a federal government shutdown. As one senior Democratic aide put it in an email this afternoon, “What hypocrites!”

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