Florida Senator: Congress shouldn’t get paid until the government reopens

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Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., discusses the government shutdown during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sen. Rick Scott has co-sponsored a bill that would halt the pay of Congress during a government shutdown.

“If other people aren’t getting paid—Coast Guard is not getting paid or other federal workers are not getting paid, we’re impacting our economy—why would Congress-men and women and senators get paid?” Scott asked at a press conference on Thursday. “I think it’s very important that we are subject to the same rules as everybody else, and if you can’t pass the budget, you shouldn’t get paid.”

The longest shutdown in history began at midnight Eastern Time on Dec. 21 amid deadlock over President Donald Trump’s request for $5.7 billion in wall money.

Democrats, who control the House, show no signs of caving, having put forth a budget that does not include funding for a wall, which the president said he won’t sign. 

Meanwhile, more than 800,000 government employees are missing paychecks and don’t know when the next one will come. 

At least 80 members of Congress are refusing or donating their paychecks until the government reopens. 

“It is unjust for Congress to budget a living wage for ourselves, yet rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about “fiscal responsibility,” Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. “If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.”

Despite her criticism of their party, many Republicans agree with the sentiment.

Mike Braun, a freshman Republican senator from Indiana, introduced a bipartisan bill, which Scott is co-sponsoring, that would prevent members of Congress from being paid until the government reopens. 

“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 told the Indianapolis Star. “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.”

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