Sen. Steve Daines Introduces Bill Withholding Pay From Congressmen During Government Shutdowns, Others Join

Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines introduced a bill on the Senate floor Thursday that would withhold the pay of members of Congress during future government shutdowns.

Daines’ introduction of the bill, sponsored by Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn, comes hours after Daines announced he sent a letter requesting the secretary of the U.S. Senate withhold his pay during the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government.

“Members of Congress are sent to Washington, D.C., to represent the great people of their state and keep the federal government open, working, and funded. So it’s simple. If they can’t do that, they shouldn’t get paid. No work, no pay,” Daines told The Daily Caller News Foundation after the bill was introduced.

The “No Work, No Pay Act,” introduced by Daines, would make it so members of Congress would not be paid if they cannot keep the government funded.

His move to not accept pay was followed by many of his colleagues, such as Cornyn, who said he was excited to join Daines in co-sponsoring the bill. He echoed Daines’ message that members of Congress should not be paid while government agencies are shut down.

“The senator is very hopeful his colleagues will follow suit as this is a very important issue in bringing accountability to Washington, D.C.,” Katie Schoettler, Daines’ deputy communications director, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In the House, Republican Utah Rep. John Curtis introduced a similar bill, which would make it unlawful to pay U.S. senators and representatives during government shutdowns.

Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw also announced Thursday he would refuse to be paid until the government is open, saying he asked the chief administrative officer to withhold his pay until both sides can come to an agreement on border security.

“Democrats aren’t the only people who want this shutdown to end. Republicans have tried to compromise, but Democrats won’t come to the table and negotiate in good faith. I cannot let federal employees take the fall for Democrats’ grandstanding, so I am withholding my pay until this partial shutdown ends,” Crenshaw told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican Indiana Rep. Greg Pence, another freshman congressman, released a video Thursday, saying he too would not accept his pay until the southern border is secured, echoing President Donald Trump’s message. Trump traveled to the southern border to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Pence campaigned on fighting the opioid crisis plaguing the country, something he considers a top priority and not a partisan issue.

“We are facing a serious opioid crisis and it seems that some Democrats refuse to acknowledge this,” Pence told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday afternoon. “It’s important that we work to solve the crisis, which includes securing our border. Hancock County, for example, had 50 overdose deaths between 2014-2017, and in 29 of the cases, opioids were found. This isn’t a partisan issue.”

Oklahoma Republican Rep. Kevin Hern is donating his salary from the shutdown to veterans organizations, saying they deserve the money over members of Congress in the midst of a partial government shutdown.

“I’ve long held the belief that if you don’t do your job, you shouldn’t get paid. Being elected to Congress shouldn’t exempt us from the standards that any employer would hold. If Congress can’t fund the government, we shouldn’t be paid for failing to do our constitutional duty,” Hern told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday night.

As the government entered its 19th day of a partial shutdown Wednesday, five Republican lawmakers—Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs, North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, and Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith—introduced legislation that would require federal workers to be paid during the shutdown.

“While Democrats continue to play politics with border security, federal employees dedicated to their mission of keeping America safe and our border secure are still going to work knowing they will be missing their paychecks,” Gibbs said in a Wednesday statement.

Trump was on Capitol Hill Wednesday meeting with Republican senators to discuss the shutdown and border wall funding. After the meeting, he said Republicans were “unified.”

The president also warned Democrats he might declare a national emergency if they cannot come to an agreement soon.