During her keynote remarks at the National Treasury Employees Union luncheon today, Thursday, February 28, 2013, at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will announce that, if sequestration begins tomorrow, she will donate a day’s pay for each day federal employees are furloughed this year as a result of sequestration divided between support of furloughed federal employees and providing the same level of constituent services to the residents of the District of Columbia by preventing furloughs of her own office staff.
The salaries of Members of Congress are exempt from sequestration under the Constitution, but their office budgets are not and will be subject to the same across-the-board cuts as federal agencies.
While the length of furloughs, if any, will differ at each federal agency, Norton’s donations will match the highest number of furlough days by any federal agency. For example, if the highest number of furloughs for one agency is one furlough day, but another has 10 such days, Norton would donate 10 days’ pay. Norton will donate to federal employees through the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, which, among other things, provides no-interest loans and grants to federal employees experiencing financial hardships.
“While the salaries of Members of Congress enjoy the protection of the Constitution, Congress is visiting pain on its own employees, the American public and the U.S. economy alike,” Norton said. “The $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts will have a devastating impact on the fragile economic recovery, government services and investments, and particularly federal employees, who have already been subject to a federal pay freeze for more than two years. If there is a sequester, Members’ office budgets are treated equally, but that is not fair to my constituents. By supplementing my office budget, we will continue to provide the same level of constituent services to District residents, and in contributing to the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund, I hope to indicate my solidarity with federal employees and willingness to help.”