U.S. Politics

GOP rep suggests congressional pay should be revoked during shutdown

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinGOP lawmaker accuses Dems of 'empowering' anti-Semitism House Freedom Caucus calls for Congress to work on shutdown through break 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers MORE (R-N.Y.) suggested revoking congressional pay during the partial government shutdown could help expedite negotiations to reopen the government.

“I really do believe that you should lock every member of Congress in a room, bring the president in, no phones, no pay. You’re not leaving until there’s white smoke,” he said on John Catsimatidis’ radio show. “You need to negotiate, compromise with each other, with the president. I think you’d have a deal within maybe 45 minutes.”

Zeldin expressed sympathy for federal workers who missed a paycheck during the shutdown.

“It’s difficult to miss one paycheck. It becomes increasingly difficult to miss a second paycheck,” he said. “It’s crazy to me that you have members of Congress getting paid while you have Coast Guardsmen who are not.”

About 800,000 federal employees were either furloughed or required to work without pay since Dec. 22, when approximately a quarter of the government was shut down. The Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, Interior and State, among others, saw their funding lapse. 

The White House and congressional Democrats are at an impasse in negotiations to end a partial government shutdown that entered its 30th day Sunday. 

Democrats Saturday rejected a proposal from the president that would temporarily extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients and those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in exchange for his requested $5.7 billion for a border wall.

“[H]is proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.  It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement Saturday.


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