Tester calls on House to pass his plan stopping Congressional pay if government shuts down

Senator: House Representatives should ‘put their money where their mouth is’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass his plan—already unanimously approved by the Senate—to prevent members of Congress and the President from getting paid if they fail to pass a budget and shut down the federal government.

Congress and the President must agree on a budget for the remainder of the year by midnight Friday, April 8, to avoid a Republican shutdown. 

Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously approved Tester’s legislation to cancel pay for Congress and the President in the event of a shutdown.  That measure continues to await action in the House.

“Members of Congress were elected to work together to cut spending and responsibly continue the services folks rely on,” Tester said.  “If Congress can’t work together to pass a budget, then we don’t deserve a paycheck.  The Senate spoke unanimously weeks ago—now I’m calling on the House to follow my lead and raise the bar for accountability.”

Tester has helped cancel several automatic pay hikes for members of Congress since 2007.  He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently end automatic pay raises for Congress.

A copy of Tester’s bipartisan letter to the House of Representatives appears below.


Dear Speaker Boehner:

Nearly one month has passed since Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together and unanimously passed S. 388, legislation to prohibit Members of Congress and the President from receiving any pay during a government shutdown. 

Despite the Senate’s bipartisan effort, and requests from members for immediate action, you have taken no steps to hold a vote on this important legislation. 

As you know, in the event of a government shutdown, Members of Congress and the President would be treated differently from millions of other Federal employees.  While Federal employees would not get paid, Members of Congress and the President would still receive a paycheck because we are paid through mandatory spending, rather than through annual appropriations.

Recently, a number of House Republicans have publicly stated that a government shutdown is unavoidable, and have gone so far as to significantly downplay the negative impact it would have on our economy. 

Since members of your caucus are openly predicting a government shutdown, the time to pass this bill is now.  Members who want to shutdown the government should not continue to receive a paycheck while the rest of the nation suffers the consequences. Members of Congress and the President should be treated no differently than every other federal employee; we too should have to face the consequences of our actions.     

While appearing on the CNN program “Crossfire” in 1995, you offered your support for a bill that is identical to S.388, so it is unclear why you have not scheduled a vote.  The closer we get to the expiration of the Continuing Resolution without passage of this legislation, the more it becomes apparent that your primary interest is in protecting the paychecks of your colleagues. 

It is essential that we work together to avoid a government shutdown, but if we cannot do our jobs and keep the government functioning, we should not get paid.

We again request that the House immediately take up and pass this legislation in the same bipartisan spirit demonstrated by the Senate.  We ask for your immediate response.