The Indianpolis Star
In his first act as a U.S. senator, Indiana Republican Mike Braun is introducing a bipartisan bill Tuesday that would prevent members of Congress — including himself — from being paid during government shutdowns.
Currently lawmakers are still paid when they are unable to pass spending bills by the deadline, while most federal workers are not.
The latest partial government shutdown is now in its third week, as Democrats and President Donald Trump continue to clash over border security on the country’s southern border. Trump has requested $5 billion for a border wall.
Braun’s bill, co-authored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, would also prohibit retroactive pay for lawmakers.
“In the private sector folks roll up their sleeves and get to work on day one, and that’s exactly what we’re doing by introducing No Budget, No Pay legislation,” Braun said in a statement to IndyStar. “There are consequences for unfinished work in the business world, and considering it’s Congress’s job to pass budgets and spending bills, it’s time we hold Washington to the same standard.”
During his first days in Congress, Braun has criticized Democrats for not supporting Trump’s border wall proposal.
Congress’ pay during the current shutdown is a subject of growing scrutiny, with at least 48 members of the U.S. House and Senate announcing they intend to forgo or donate their pay in the interim, according to The Washington Post.
That concern aside, it’s not clear that a bill like Braun’s would find much traction, and even if it did, it likely would be some time before it took effect.
The Government Shutdown Accountability and Economic Report Act, first introduced in 2017 by Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz, is among multiple similar bills that have yet to pass both the House and Senate. Further, the 27th Amendment of the U.S Constitution bars Congress from passing any laws that affect its pay for the current term, which ends January 2020.
The Democratic-led House passed a bill last week to end the shutdown, but since it doesn’t include border wall funding, Trump and many congressional Republicans are not on board.
Trump is expected to give a prime-time speech Tuesday night to advocate for a border wall.