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Help me here, Kossacks . . . I keep hearing how Representatives and Senators keep getting paid, even when they shut down the government.  But why is that necessarily so?

The way I understand how the system works, the Department of the Treasury ultimately controls all the disbursements of the federal government.  I know when I get a refund check on my income tax, the check comes from the Treasury.

The Department of the Treasury is part of the executive branch of government.

So why can't the President and Commander-in-Chief order the Treasury to stop paying the House and the Senate.  Do it publicly, make the announcement of the suspension of payment an executive order and add that as soon as Congress funds the nation, he will fund Congress.

Let the Teabaggers scream and whine and threaten impeachment - doesn't matter, the Senate isn't going to impeach him - and withholding payment from lousy workers may be a civil wrong, but it sure isn't a high crime or misdemeanor.



Should the President order the Treasury to 86 Congressional paychecks?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Johnny Q

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 01:18:17 PM PDT

  •  Think about it for a minute- (3+ / 0-)

    I could simply say read the 27th amendment to the constitution, but-- I really wish this meme would go away and am disappointed that fellow kossacks are seriously interested in it.

    Forcing people to work without pay is illegal-- it is a form of slavery. Would you let someone else compel you to work without compensation? Think about it... I wouldn't. If a member of congress isn't paid to try and fix the mess they created, they are under no compunction to even show up to resolve it.

     The republicans in congress shut the workings of the government down, they are the only ones who can open it. Even if they are crappy at their jobs, their pay should not be in danger, the time to give them a termination notice is called an election.

    This meme is not only unconstitutional, it is illogical.

    My good habits are suicidal and my bad habits bully them.

    by tharu1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 01:48:06 PM PDT

    •  "Forcing people to work without pay is illegal"` (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q

      . . . they're working? could've fooled me . . .

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:06:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So I read the 27th amendment ... (0+ / 0-)

      nothing in there about the TIMING of their pay.  What I propose neither increases nor decreases their salary . . . it only affects when they see the $$$.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:09:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK- I'll try to make it clear--- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm on furlough, so I guess I have some free time to try and make this clearer...

        Here is the 27th amendment to the US Constitution:

        No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
        Congress (HR) members are federal employees, and by law all employees are entitled to receive compensation every two weeks for their work. Once sworn into service-- they serve two year terms and are entitled to their pay every two weeks and fringe benefits as defined. To add extra mandates such as "you will not be paid until you fix your mess and get government started again" varies the terms upon which they were sworn in and can only be changed through law.

        No one branch of government can interfere with that... President Obama has no authority to change how, when, or under what conditions Congress members get their compensation.

        The only way to vary their compensation (including timeliness of when it is paid) is through legislation that goes through both houses of Congress, the President, and the judicial branch (if it is contested to them).

        The only way to put an extracurricular mandate on the how/when of what they are paid is through passage of a law and under the 27th amendment the Congress cannot vary their own pay for their current session ...

        In other words, demanding that congress get the government running again before they get paid, varies the pay structure for which the last Congress was sworn in and is by definition unconstitutional.

        My good habits are suicidal and my bad habits bully them.

        by tharu1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:54:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This Administration has chosen to violate federal (0+ / 0-)

          laws making warrantless wiretapping a criminal offense carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  

          They have chosen to ignore laws against lying to Congress (Clapper th perjurer).

          They have chosen to ignore Title 18 of the US Code with respect to torture . . . and you want me to concur they should hesitate to play hardball with a bunch of teabagging nutballs.

          And can you cite me that law on how often they get paid?  Because I'm thinking a violation of that law is NOT a criminal offense.

          Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

          by bobdevo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 03:55:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, but don't understand your reply and I'm (0+ / 0-)

            apologetic that I was unable to help you answer your inquiry or increase your understanding about this issue.
            I did try my best--- My apologies.

            My good habits are suicidal and my bad habits bully them.

            by tharu1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 04:11:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  But didn't I read that Air Traffic Controllers, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Border Patrol and Prison Guards are working without pay?

      •  They are not working without pay--- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They are categorized as "excepted" employees, this includes weather forecasters, food inspectors, and many other federal employees.

        Unfortunately for them, they are not protected by the constitution or law the way that congress is and are subject to the mandates of the OPM. Their pay will be delayed, but they are to be paid for all the time they do serve...  

        From the OPM.GOV Office of Personnel Management website:

        Will excepted employees be paid for performing work during a shutdown furlough? If so, when will excepted employees receive such payments?

        A. Agencies will incur obligations to pay for services performed by excepted employees during a lapse in appropriations, and those employees will be paid after Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution.

        BTW- I am currently on furlough, but am subject to recall (probably next week if this mess continues) and then I will also be expected to work with the promise of delayed compensation.

        My good habits are suicidal and my bad habits bully them.

        by tharu1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 03:24:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. I wonder if the Rs won't think they (0+ / 0-)

          can deny pay to those who worked, just as they think they might cut off the furloughed.  (Naaah!  Grassley and Cruz and Paul and Cornyn and McConnell and....would never think like that!  Would they?)

  •  Mandatory vs Appropriated funding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tharu1, Villanova Rhodes

    The budget fight only concerns appropriated funds- basically, those things not paid for by other laws (since the budget is, really, a law itself).  Congressional pay is covered by other laws, so it's not affected by the budget.  The same goes for most the ACA and certain other areas.

    That's why the exchanges are still running but the NPS isn't.  Also, Congress controls Congressional pay - each chamber writes its own rules, and their pay doesn't even go through the Treasury IIRC; if the President could simply order them to not be paid, it wouldn't be a separation of powers.

  •  In the first place, he's the commander in chief (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;" not of the U.S. Treasury. I so wish we would stop using that phrase when it's not about his role as head of the military, but I suppose that's just a pet peeve. I presume you're not suggesting he have Seal Team 6 take out the poor GS-nothing who pushes the direct deposit button over at Treasury.

    In the second place, no: Lawmakers will get paid no matter what.

    In the third place, aren't the optics better for our side if they do continue to get paid? If they didn't think so, a bunch of them wouldn't be running around proclaiming that they're giving their salaries to charity, etc.

    In the fourth place, ah, forget it. But the list goes on.

  •  Are we mad enough for an amendment requiring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congress to dissolve for new elections when they can't pass a budget?
    It's one thing the Ozzies seem to me to have got right ...

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 02:46:25 PM PDT

  •  Maybe this will help: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    US Constitution
    Article I

    SECTION 6.

    The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.

    •  I'm all for them receiving the compensation.... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just talking about scheduling of said payments.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 03:56:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Half of the people in Congress are millionaires. (0+ / 0-)

        The other half are doing okay financially as well. Now, maybe if we could somehow prevent them from eating, we'd get their attention.

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