No budget, no paycheck

October 2, 2013 

The only thing more galling to the general public than the federal government shutdown is that President Obama and members of Congress are still collecting their paychecks during it.

President Obama is paid $400,000 a year. Members of Congress get $174,000 a year, with leaders in the House and Senate leaders receiving even more.

Thousands of civilian workers are off work without pay because Congress failed to put a budget in place by the start of the new fiscal year. If the rank-and-file workers aren't get paid, why should the people who created this mess?

Apparently lawmakers have to get paid. The 27th Amendment reads: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the senators and representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened." The intent was to ensure they didn't give themselves raises, but the wording means that their pay can't be decreased, either. How convenient.

Just because lawmakers have to get a paycheck doesn't mean they have to keep it. Fortunately, some lawmakers agree.

Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, said he'll donate his pay during the shutdown to a food bank. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said he'll refuse his pay.

The Washington Post reported that as of Wednesday, at least 98 lawmakers -- 52 Republicans and 46 Democrats -- are either going to donate their pay or refuse it.

Kudos to them, but there are 535 members of Congress plus the president. They have all failed to do their jobs and find an acceptable path on the budget. Until they do they need to give back their pay.

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