Tester: Withhold Congressional Pay in the Case of a Government Shutdown

Senator: If Politicians in Washington Can't Keep the Doors Open, They Shouldn't Get Paid

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced legislation to withhold the pay of members of Congress during a government shutdown. Heitkamp and Manchin introduced similar legislation before a potential shutdown in 2015.

“As a Montana farmer, I know if you don’t do the work you aren’t going to get paid and Washington could certainly learn a thing or two from Montanans,” Tester said. “It’s real simple, if politicians in Washington can’t keep the doors open, they shouldn’t get paid. I am ready and willing to work with anyone to govern responsibly and maybe withholding Congress’ paychecks will bring some folks to the table to responsibly govern.”

“If members of Congress can’t figure this out and keep the government open, then none of us should get paid,” McCaskill said.

“Hard working North Dakotans like our farmers and ranchers do everything they can to support their families and makes ends meet. If they don’t get the job done in the field, they don’t get paid, and the same should be true for their representatives in Congress,” Heitkamp said. “If members of Congress can’t fulfill their basic duty to keep the government open and provide the essential services Americans depend on, then they don’t deserve their paychecks. Period.”

“It’s wrong that Members of Congress would still get paid in the event of a shutdown while paychecks for members of our military could be disrupted,” Stabenow said. “This bill ensures Members of Congress will not get paid and another bill I have cosponsored makes sure our troops will. Even if these bills do not pass, I will donate my salary for every single day a shutdown occurs.”

“In West Virginia, we know that when you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. If Congress can’t come together to fulfil one of our most basic constitutional obligations, then we don’t deserve to get paid either,” Manchin said.

In accordance with the 27th Amendment forbidding Congress from raising or lowering its pay, the No Government No Pay Act of 2018 would take effect during the 116th Congress and would be applied to each new Congress going forward. Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN) introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.