If there is a government shutdown, around 800,000 civilian federal workers might be furloughed, and will not be paid unless the same GOP who caused the shutdown decided to pass legislation to retroactively pay workers.
But then these same lawmakers don't have to worry about paying mortgage or rent and other bills because, as the Congressional Research Service stated, members of Congress are not subject to furlough or loss of their comfy salary for rank and file lawmakers of $174,000:
Due to their constitutional responsibilities and a permanent appropriation for congressional pay, Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.The law provides that members of Congress are "paid through mandatory spending required by law (2 U.S.C. 31 and 3 U.S.C 102) rather than through the annual appropriations process."
So, the teabagger GOP want to make government funding contingent upon nixing the Affordable Care Act, when, once again, they have a very nice health care system.
For many lawmakers, applying the furlough to them would not make any significant difference given their wealth. Lawmakers' "relative pay is declining" but their "wealth is increasing" – "average net worth among freshman members first elected last November stands at more than a million dollars."
The Congressional salary does not mean much to the superwealthy lawmakers. According to one analysis, "18 percent of representatives and senators in 2011 had an estimated net worth of $5 million or more."
However, some lawmakers have proposed legislation to make members of Congress "non-essential" federal workers so that their salary would be stopped during a government shutdown. "Non-essential" is the ugly word often used to refer to the workers furloughed (although since 1995 the government tried to use other words.)
Democrats proposed a better measure two years ago that would forfeit lawmakers' salary during a shutdown with no subsequent retroactive payment. That would be a penalty, and also make the arrogant lawmakers a "non-essential" worker. At the very least, it would send a message that the GOP teabagging obstuctionists are failures at their job.
Last Saturday, Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) proposed legislation to make members of Congress "non-essential" workers during a government shutdown. Gallego's proposal is the Shutdown Member of Congress Pay Act,(H.R. 3215) but "it would not immediately effect the current Congress until 2015, even if the House were to pass it. The 27th Amendment to the Constitution says no law varying the compensation of members can take effect until after an intervening election." The text of the proposed measure is not yet available online, but sounds like lawmakers would be entitled to retroactive payment if it simply makes them "non-essential" workers.
Several House members proposed another measure:
Several House members have proposed a new amendment to the Constitution to get around this delay and immediately cut their own pay if they fail to, for example, pass a budget.Last week, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) proposed the Government Shutdown Fairness Act (H.R. 3160) that would "hold lawmakers' paychecks in escrow until the end of the current Congress." Still, no permanent loss of money.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a bill to prevent lawmakers from being paid during a government shutdown threatened in 2011, which was a companion to a bill in the House introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA).
Their measure also provided that any pay forfeited would not be subject to retroactive payment:
“A government shutdown would be a disaster for our nation and for our economy,” Senator Boxer said. “If we can’t resolve our differences, we should not receive a paycheck. It is our job to work together for the good of the American people, and that’s why I call on my Republican colleagues to take the government shutdown option off the table.”This is a better approach. The GOP obstructing Congress at every bend and turn should forfeit their pay when they refuse to do their job. The loss of pay would be a drop in the bucket for them, but they are greedy. The message will be sent that they are failures who engaged in extortion and should not be re-elected because the lack of pay for them is a penalty or sanction. And for the arrogant, privileged 1%ers, they will not at all like that they are now also "non-essential" like the rest of us.
“Economists have warned that a government shutdown would hurt the economy and endanger job creation,” said Senator Casey. “A shutdown in a fragile economic recovery will hurt people who have already suffered through the recession. If it comes to a government shutdown, everyone should agree that Members of Congress and the President should not receive pay or retroactive pay.”