If the government shuts down, will Congress still get paid?

In Politics, United States by Rosie On The Right4 Comments

Washington is once again talking about the possibility of a shut down. As it stands now the U.S Military will NOT get paid.

Not every government worker would be sent home in the event of a shutdown, however the U.S military will NOT get paid unless the resolution being considered now, H.R.1297, that will ensure the military will be paid through 2011 passes. This must be passed before the Friday deadline to be in effect if the government shuts down. Lots of politics being played here using our troops as bargaining chips. It’s a disgraceful bit of politics I might add. The congresswoman, Renee Ellmers, R-NC 2nd district, has a large number of the troops stationed at Ft Bragg, NC. I believe because of her constituents; she will not vote for anything less than a bill that guarantees the military will be paid before ANYBODY else gets paid. I have also learned today that Legislators and their staff will forfeit pay when if there is a shutdown.

Several types of federal officials and employees, including members of Congress, the president, presidential appointees, and certain legislative branch employees are not subject to a furlough caused by a funding gap.

Under Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution, members of Congress “shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.”

Since the constitution thus mandates Congress’ pay, their compensation is not subject to the annual appropriations process. (how convenient)

During the government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 members were paid throughout because their pay is automatically funded.

Some “essential” congressional staffers will also continue to work,

though they will not have the same certainty about when or whether they will be paid. It is up to the individual members as to whether and which staffers are essential to their operations.

The staffers who work will only be paid if money for retroactive compensation is included in the spending bill that is eventually enacted. With the current budget environment and the anti-government sentiment among many voters, retroactive pay for congressional staffers may be politically unpopular.

Over the past few weeks the House and Senate have passed two different bills aimed at preventing Congress and the president from receiving their regular paychecks in the event of a shutdown.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced a bill (S 388), passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on March 1, which would bar the president and members of Congress from being paid during a shutdown or a period of default caused by a failure to raise the debt limit.Last Friday the House passed its own bill (HR 1255) that would prevent lawmakers and the president from being paid for the duration of any government shutdown that lasts more than 24 hours. 15 Republican House members joined the entire Democratic caucus in opposing the measure.

Certain members of Congress, however, have warned that such measures could be unconstitutional.

In the House, where the rules require members to cite the constitutional justification for items of legislation when they are introduced, bill sponsor Steve Womack (R-Ark.) submitted a statement arguing that the legislation “is consistent with” the constitution “in that it does not vary the compensation” for members of Congress and the president “but only seeks to regulate its disbursement during certain periods.”

Neither bill appears to have enough support to pass the other legislative body and thus neither is likely to become law, meaning members of Congress are likely to continue to be compensated in the event of a shutdown.

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  1. david

    Go ahead-shut down. All of you little babies get paid enough. We won’t give you the time of day nor a tax dollar for a year. Anyone with me?

    1. Author

      The problem is this David; the U.S Constitution has already been ammended in case of a shut down the Congress still gets paid.

  2. Susan Justice

    Since it seems like congress can not get their act together in dealing with the debt ceiling, they should be the first ones who do not get paid in the event of default! I bet if you told them that, they’d have a quick solution!