OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
4:24 PM – Thursday, May 18, 2023
A bipartisan bill was introduced on Thursday that would withhold Congress members’ salaries during a breach of the debt ceiling or a suspension in federal financing.
No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act was introduced by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) amid rising concerns that the divided Congress may not be able to increase the debt ceiling by the Treasury Department’s deadline on June 1st, risks a default on American debt.
In May, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had said that the United States would not be able to pay its bills when June came. Republicans have demanded that the White House and Democrats commit to spending cuts before raising the debt ceiling. The White House has previously insisted on Congress passing what they referred to as a “clean” debt ceiling that would increase the debt limit without any conditions.
In April, a bill sponsored by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggested raising the nation’s debt ceiling to tackle spending reductions, as well as making a number of changes to GOP policies. According to the bill, which was passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the nation’s borrowing power will increase by $1.5 trillion under the House GOP measure, or until March 2024, whichever comes first. It rolls back spending levels for most federal programs to those in place two years ago.
“If Congress can’t fulfill basic obligations tied to the strength and security of our country, lawmakers should not be rewarded with our salaries until we do our jobs,” Spanberger said.
Spanberger pointed out that the bill’s intent was obvious. If the United States recklessly fails on our country’s debt limit then politicians should not get paid.
“Members of Congress promise to fight for their constituents in Washington, and should not be paid a taxpayer-funded salary if they cannot deliver on that promise,” Fitzpatrick said.
The bill would reportedly not outright ban lawmakers from receiving compensation, which would violate the 27th Amendment. Instead, it will inhibit employees from receiving their salaries during a shutdown or default, at least until the session is over.
If either a default or a shutdown persists, Spanberger’s office said, “congressional payroll administrators — such as the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) in the U.S. House — would release withheld payments at the end of the 118th Congress.”
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