"No Budget, No Pay"

By on April 7, 2011 in News

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has pledged not to take his salary if the government shuts down.  He is calling it the “No Budget, No Pay” Pledge. Manchin distributed a letter to his colleagues making the commitment to forego his salary and he is asking them to do the same.

According to Manchin, “I will forego my federal salary until we reach an agreement. I will donate my salary to charity or return it to the Treasury until the government works again.”

Manchin also stated “While millions of American families will be impacted by a government shutdown- whether they are serving our country’s military, whether someone in their family is furloughed or whether they are unable to use critical government services – elected officials are the one group who will not be impacted. Just the opposite, in fact: we still get paid. How does that make any sense?”

Manchin previously was involved in an effort in the Senate to block pay for members of Congress and the President in the event of a shutdown. At the end of March, he and sixteen other Senators sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urging him to immediately take up and pass legislation that had been drafted by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to stop pay for members of Congress and the President in a shutdown. The bill was never taken up by the House, however.

Boehner has expressed support for the idea of Congress not being paid as well. When asked by George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” whether or not members of Congress should be paid during a shutdown, he said, “No they shouldn’t be getting paid just like federal employees shouldn’t be getting paid.” Boehner also said in the interview that he does not want to shut the government down.

The full text of Manchin’s letter follows.

 

Dear Colleague,

Every passing hour, the looming possibility of a government shutdown becomes more real. The truth is, a shutdown may disrupt vital government services that that matter to our servicemembers, children, seniors, veterans and all American families.

The fact is, the American people elected us to do a job – a job that means we must work together and not allow ideology or partisanship to needlessly divide us and prevent us from reaching a commonsense agreement.

While millions of American families will be impacted by a government shutdown- whether they are serving our country’s military, whether someone in their family is furloughed or whether they are unable to use critical government services – elected officials are the one group who will not be impacted. Just the opposite, in fact: we still get paid.

How does that make any sense?

That is why, if the government shuts down, I will take this pledge, and I urge you all – from the President and Vice President to all Members of Congress – to take it with me:

I will forego my federal salary until we reach an agreement. I will donate my salary to charity or return it to the Treasury until the government works again.

In the Senate, we tried to make this commonsense measure the law of our country, and we unanimously passed legislation from Senators Boxer and Casey to prevent lawmakers and the President from drawing a salary if the government shuts down. Unfortunately, that legislation is going nowhere in the House.

The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the President, Vice President or any Member of Congress – Republican or Democrat – thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down.

Finally, some in Washington will deride this as an empty gesture. To those naysayers, I say that the American people expect more of us. They expect us to lead by example and share their pain until a budget resolution is reached that reflects our values and priorities as a country.

Again, I urge you to send the American people the right message and join with me to sign the “No Budget, No Pay” Pledge.

Sincerely,
Senator Joe Manchin III

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

43 Replies

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  1. Gene S says:

    Good for Manchin and Boxer!  I wish they all had that kind of ethic.  I’d also like them all to start chopping the pork, too.  I know that would hurt every state in some way, but when I see some of the “studies” funded by my tax dollars, it makes me sick.  There are some topics that are interesting but we really just don’t need to know about them in tight times like this.  The “crisis” may be over — for the moment — but it will be back.  I am all for a constitutional ammendment requiring a balanced budget by a specified time, or no pay OR BENEFITS to Congress, President and Vice President.  Be sensible, people!  That includes you, too, Obama.

  2. Gout says:

    I agree with ‘guest’ and ‘Pistfirwilly.’

    Sen. Manchin III might be able to forego his salary but, like ‘guest’ said: “Big Deal. My guess here, is that members of our House and Senate are not counting on their Federal pay to keep the lights on, pay child support, pay the mortgage, make the car payment, or… God forbid… buy some groceries”!

    Those of us who don’t make the money he makes can not afford to let our bills back up or, starve our families or, use up our reserve until the our so call “Leaders” do what they should have done a long time ago.

  3. Guest says:

    He’s worth millions, like so many in congress. So he doesn’t get paid for not doing his job. Big deal.

  4. A lazy fed says:

    Dear Senator Joe Manchin III – what is your net worth? Or the average net worth of your peers on the hill, I’ll bet it’s 25-50 times more than the average federal employee’s. I like your enthusiasm but it wont pay our bills. The federal worker didnt put us in the mess we’re in, you politicians did. You bailed out the millionairs on Wall Street but you kick us to the street. We wont get the book deals or the speaking engagments @ $40k a pop like you guys will after you leave the mess you made while elected, but don’t worry the federal workers will be here to clean up the mess you ALL made. I know no one except US will read these blogs, but FedSmith I’d like you to post one of our comments somwhere so the big wigs who hold our lives in their hands will. This is one of the reasons I dont vote. I came to the gvmt to help save tax payer money the best I can, and I feel I do as do many of us. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely, clean house I say, more desk audits, if you can’t use excel you should’nt be a GS 12 financial analyst, that’s a management issue NOT the 2 million feds the amercan people think are over compensated and entitled. I’m ranting, because your inability to do YOUR jobs is forcing us, the federal worker, from supporting the american people. But we’ll take the hit and say, “thank you may I have another” and do you know why? Because we are dedicated and loyal. I tried to be dedicated and loyal in the private sector but greed and the bottom line + VP’s bonuses got in the way and I lost my job. So, please keep your money, it wont make a dent in the black hole of debt you and your peers have put us in. If by chance this gets read by some one other than a fellow fed, I hope you “hear” the message.

  5. WNJhnaasj says:

    Here is what I want — a REAL shutdown. MAKE THIS PAINFUL to everyone, and not making for some inconvenience to some people. The workers will suffer, and the conservatives will come back and ask “DID YOU MISS THE GOVERNMENT?” Happened the last time.

    The second thing I want to NO CONGRESSIONAL staffer getting a penny during a shutdown. MANY (most?) can afford not getting a check or two. During the last shut down I called Senator Kyl’s office to voice my anger of the lack of doing their job. I asked if the staffer was getting paid and was told she was. WHY was she essential than and WHY would anyone think they are essential now?

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