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Government shutdown? Long Island Republicans say Congress shouldn’t get paid

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., speaks to the media, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, R-N.Y.
Jacquelyn Martin
/
AP
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., speaks to the media, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, R-N.Y.

Ahead of a government shutdown that is expected over the weekend, Long Island Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) announced bipartisan legislation to withhold pay from federal lawmakers if Congress fails to finalize a spending package.

The No Budget, No Pay Act is a measure meant to keep members of Congress from receiving their paychecks while the federal government is out of commission, keeping them accountable.

The law was introduced by Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC) on the grounds that Congress shouldn’t be earning pay during a standstill when other federal workers aren’t getting paid.

Both D'Esposito and Nickel belong to the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, an independent group in Congress composed of an equal division of Democrats and Republican representatives.

The potential of a government shutdown looms as the House and the Senate remain in a stalemate concerning how funds in the federal government should be appropriated for the next year. If they can’t come to a decision by the end of September— Saturday night — the government “runs out” of money and all non-essential work stops.

Much of the tension on the floor comes from conservative demands in the House for deeper spending cuts than the Senate is interested in passing.

“If members of Congress won’t take the necessary steps to fund the government, then the American people shouldn't be forced to fund their paychecks,” D'Esposito said in a joint statement. “The No Budget, No Pay Act is a simple solution that makes sure Congress is held accountable for funding the people's government.”

Currently, all federal employees aside from Congress do not receive pay during government shutdowns. This includes federal law enforcement and military service members. Additionally, people who receive federal aid, from veteran benefits to SNAP food stamps, can also be affected depending on the length of the shutdown.

Along with D’Esposito and Nickel, Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Dan Goldman (D-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Shri Thanedar (D-MI) and David Trone (D-MD) are co-sponsoring the bill.

Similar bipartisan bills have also been introduced by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) respectively, both named the No Work, No Pay Act. Several members of Congress are backing these pieces of legislation, including Long Island Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) on Nunn’s bill.

“Government shutdowns have real-world consequences for Americans,” Garbarino said in a statement, “from delayed distribution of federal benefits to the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal employees in communities across the country.”

Eda Uzunlar (she/her) is a reporter for WSHU.