Bill Would Withhold Pay for Congress, President During Shutdowns

Legislation has been introduced to withhold pay for Congress, the president and vice president in the event of government shutdowns.

Recently introduced legislation would withhold pay for the president, vice president and Members of Congress in the event of a partial government shutdown.

The Solidarity in Salary Act of 2019 (H.R. 845) was introduced by Congressman Jared Golden (D-ME). It would place the salaries in escrow until a shutdown was over and then they would be released once it ended.

“Federal workers don’t get paid during a government shutdown. Neither should politicians. That’s just common sense,” said Golden. “This legislation will help prevent the American people from being political pawns for party leaders and help return sanity to the task of funding the government.”

One interesting stipulation in the bill is that if a shutdown were to begin during the current session of Congress (116th) and last into the next Congress, the pay would be released from escrow and given to current lawmakers. According to the bill, this is to prevent a violation of the 27th amendment of the Constitution regarding varying salaries of Members of Congress. However, the bill states that pay would be withheld in shutdowns for future Congresses, so it is applicable to all future shutdowns as currently written.

As for the president and vice president, if a shutdown were to begin and last through the end of their elected terms, their pay would be released upon leaving office, assuming the shutdown did not end beforehand.

Other Related Legislation

A similar bill was also recently introduced by Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA). The Inaction Has Consequences Act (H.R. 857) says that if Members of Congress do not complete appropriations bills by the end of the fiscal year, they will not receive a paycheck.

“Shutdowns like the one we just had are absolutely avoidable,” Wittman said. “The recent partial shutdown means that now, more than ever, it is absolutely critical that Congress get back to passing a budget and appropriations bills on time. If Members of Congress cannot get their most basic responsibility of funding our government done, we must be held accountable.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.