Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H. Joint Res. 146

Should the Constitution Prohibit Congress From Getting Paid During Shutdowns?

Argument in favor

It’s unfair that members of Congress — whose job it is to run the government — can be paid during a government shutdown, when the government isn’t fully functioning because they’ve failed to do their jobs. Members shouldn’t be paid at all for days when the government is closed.

Jan's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
No work no pay. Including the President of the US.
Like (279)
Follow
Share
Tom's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
If Federal workers can’t paid then Congressional members should not get paid. The President also!
Like (150)
Follow
Share
Skylar's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
Possibly, but only if the President also isn't paid during shutdowns.
Like (99)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Past efforts to amend the Constitution to not pay Congress during shutdowns have failed, and there’s no reason to think this attempt would be any more successful. Additionally, many members of Congress are independently wealthy, so this wouldn’t impact them..

David 's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
The US Constitution should be amended ONLY for issues at the core of democracy. NOT procedural issues. Besides, an amendment would take a vote from Congress. They’re not likely to relinquish their paychecks. Not a single one.
Like (76)
Follow
Share
yelkin's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
Let’s get real. We don’t need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent Congress from getting paid during a shutdown. We just need a law. But it should also prevent the President from being paid and ensure no funds are paid for travel for any Member of Congress or the President. Maybe also stop the payment of phone bills for the President and Congress and don’t use government funds to pay for food and utilities in the Capitol Building and White House.
Like (24)
Follow
Share
Kevin's Opinion
···
12/30/2018
Denying pay for representatives can be used as a political tool to force them to make votes due to financial hardships Instead of the will of constituents. Add to that, they are not furloughed and continue to work during a shut down.
Like (14)
Follow
Share

joint resolution Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
    IntroducedDecember 21st, 2018

What is House Bill H. Joint Res. 146?

This constitutional amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit members of Congress from drawing pay during a government shutdown. Because the 27th Amendment forbids Congress from raising or lowering its pay, this bill would take effect during the Congress after its enactment, and would then be applied to each new Congress going forward.


As a proposed constitutional amendment, this resolution would have to pass both chambers of Congress with a two-thirds vote and be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures (38 states) to amend the Constitution and take effect.

Impact

Members of Congress; and the Constitution.

Cost of House Bill H. Joint Res. 146

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) introduced this constitutional amendment to prevent members of Congress from receiving pay during a government shutdown:

“Today, I took a step to bring common-sense back to the federal government – I introduced a constitutional amendment that would prevent Members of Congress from getting paid during a government shutdown It’s shocking to me that this is even an issue, where else in America would employees get paid for failing to do their jobs. Members have a Constitutional duty to keep the government open and funded. As it stands now, Members of Congress still receive their paycheck, even when they cannot keep the government running. This just is not right. It is time to bring a dose of reality to the swamp. If we cannot do our jobs, then we do not deserve to get paid, plain and simple. It does not count to delay pay or get back pay as is the case with government employees. In the event of a shut-down we have failed the American people, and therefore have not earned our pay. Maybe the threat of losing of money will incentivize Representatives and Senators to return to regular order. I am willing to take whatever steps are necessary to bring accountability and common-sense back to the way our government operates.”

During the October 2013 government shutdown, former Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) argued that Congress shouldn’t get paid during shutdowns:

“It is especially disheartening that our federal workforce, which has always exemplified the professionalism of our country, has been demonized, demoralized and relegated to the status of a political football. A string of bills and amendments to freeze federal pay, cut training, roll back benefits, curb hiring and furlough federal employees -- including congressional staff -- has created an environment which has resulted in the flight of the most brilliant, dedicated and productive workers into other professions… It is criminal that after forcing these continual debt debacles on the American people, members of Congress are still able to cash their paychecks. It is unjust and unconscionable that Congress should continue getting paid while hard-working federal employees such as FBI and DEA agents, border patrol agents, National Park Service employees and other federal workers are either being furloughed or given IOUs on their paychecks.”

This constitutional amendment has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee with the support of six cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.

In January 2018, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced a Senate bill, the No Government No Pay Act of 2018, that’d withhold members of Congress’ pay during a government shutdown. As of December 2018, that bill has yet to receive a committee vote.

Lawmakers have repeatedly tried to pass legislation freezing Congressional pay in a shutdown, but such a bill has yet to pass both chambers of Congress.


Of NoteCurrently, members of the House and Senate continue to draw paychecks during government shutdowns, while their staffers and other federal workers are either sent home or see their paychecks delayed. This is because Congress’ salaries are written into the Constitution. Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution allows lawmakers to still get paid their salaries despite the federal government being shut down.

After the partial government shutdown took effect on Friday, December 21, 2018, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Congressional pay should be furloughed during a shutdown:

“Next time we have a [government] shutdown, Congressional salaries should be furloughed as well. It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines & then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision. Have some integrity.”

Rep-elect Ocasio-Cortez added that she hoped this would “cause members who actually depend on their salary to think twice about leadership and take a shutdown vote more seriously.”

During the December 2018 government shutdown, some members of Congress chose to donate their salaries during the shutdown. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) donated her salary to a Nevada charity for every day of the “Trump shutdown,” tweeting:

“I cannot take a salary during a government shutdown knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay. I’ll be donating my salary to a Nevada charity for every day of the Trump shutdown.”

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) donated his pay to the Collier County Honor Flight program, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) donated his pay to TheDream.us, and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) donated her pay to Hawaii’s federally qualified community health centers.

Reps. Elise Stafanik (R-NY), Mark Walker (R-SC), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) requested that her pay be withheld during the partial government shutdown. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) pledged to return her salary every day that the government was shut down, stating that:

"Members from both parties should not get paid if they cannot work together to pass a full-year budget that funds our military and critical domestic priorities. That is why I will return my salary every day that the government is shut down. Lurching from one short-term continuing resolution to another is reckless and wrong. It degrades our military readiness, disrupts essential government services that American families rely on, and hurts small businesses that depend on federal contracts, grants, and loans."

During the October 2013 government shutdown, which lasted 16 days, over 800,000 people working for the federal government were furloughed, and a total of 248 members of Congress from both parties donated their salaries or refused to take their pay.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / mj0007)

Official Title

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to prohibit Members of Congress from receiving compensation for any period during which a Government shutdown is in effect.

    No work no pay. Including the President of the US.
    Like (279)
    Follow
    Share
    The US Constitution should be amended ONLY for issues at the core of democracy. NOT procedural issues. Besides, an amendment would take a vote from Congress. They’re not likely to relinquish their paychecks. Not a single one.
    Like (76)
    Follow
    Share
    If Federal workers can’t paid then Congressional members should not get paid. The President also!
    Like (150)
    Follow
    Share
    Possibly, but only if the President also isn't paid during shutdowns.
    Like (99)
    Follow
    Share
    Why should innocent workers receive all the blame when supposedly knowledgeable people control their wages. Congress should lose their pay before anyone one else, especially when they play their asinine games.
    Like (79)
    Follow
    Share
    IT’S LOGICAL FOLKS — ‘NO WORK = NO PAY’ This constitutional amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit members of Congress from drawing pay during a government shutdown. Because the 27th Amendment forbids Congress from raising or lowering its pay, this bill would take effect during the Congress after its enactment, and would then be applied to each new Congress going forward. It’s unfair that members of Congress — whose job it is to run the government — can be paid during a government shutdown, when the government isn’t fully functioning because they’ve failed to do their jobs. Members shouldn’t be paid at all for days when the government is closed. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 12*29*18.....
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, Congress, the Senate, and the President should all have their wages furloughed during Shutdowns. It’s the fair thing to do.
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Also amendment 28 should pass that prohibits congress and senator members from getting benefits beyond those of other Americans
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    Is this a trick question? Why can’t legislation make it happen? Do we really need a constitutional amendment?
    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
    Absolutely, including the president!
    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress should lose their pay before anyone else! No work no pay!!
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    It is summarily unfair for my reps and senators to still be paid while the government is shutdown. Restricting your pay while the government is shutdown will only spur you further to make a resolution to solve the shutdown whether that be overriding Trump’s effective veto (which you SHOULD consider his actions as doing) or creating a new budget that works.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s get real. We don’t need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent Congress from getting paid during a shutdown. We just need a law. But it should also prevent the President from being paid and ensure no funds are paid for travel for any Member of Congress or the President. Maybe also stop the payment of phone bills for the President and Congress and don’t use government funds to pay for food and utilities in the Capitol Building and White House.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Congressional staffers, senators , representatives, White House staff and the president should not get paid during a shut down. They are no different than any other government employee!
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    If we’re going to talk amendments, then let’s talk about a balanced budget amendment and term limits. ConventionOfStates.com
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress should not receive payment during “government shutdowns”. If you can’t pay other workers, you shouldn’t be paid either. Congress works for the people and I know most don’t think they should be paid if there isn’t progress being made.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    If every other federal employee goes unpaid during a shutdown, Congress should too.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Denying pay for representatives can be used as a political tool to force them to make votes due to financial hardships Instead of the will of constituents. Add to that, they are not furloughed and continue to work during a shut down.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    No work no pay - this includes the President who refuses to compromise but welcomes a government shut down as a tactic to get his way!
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    Trump donates his salary anyway so I don’t think he’ll mind... yes suspend congress’ pay until they come up with something
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE