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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable John Boehner, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

With Friday's deadline to avoid a government shutdown rapidly approaching, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and 20 of her Senate colleagues formally requested a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last evening to discuss ways to immediately pass stand-alone legislation in the House that would prevent Members of Congress and the President from being paid during a federal government shutdown. The bill passed the Senate unanimously more than a month ago. Stabenow has since been strongly urging Speaker Boehner to schedule a vote on the measure.

"Lawmakers need to be held accountable and should feel the impact of a government shutdown just like many other Americans will," Sen. Stabenow said. "A shutdown could disrupt Social Security checks, veterans' benefits, hold up exports and cost private sector jobs, and will stop paychecks for hundreds of thousands of people. It's only fair that Members of Congress' paychecks be stopped too."

Congress has until Friday, April 8 to reach an agreement on a budget bill to continue funding public services. If an agreement isn't reached, the federal government will cease all non-mandatory activities, disrupting services for middle class families, seniors and veterans across the country.

Under current law, however, the salaries of Members of Congress are held harmless if a shutdown occurs. The bill Sen. Stabenow is cosponsoring would ensure Members of Congress and the President will be placed on equal footing with the millions of other Americans who would be affected by a shutdown.

In a letter to Speaker Boehner, the Senators point out that House Republicans are still refusing to have an up-or-down vote on the bill Stabenow has cosponsored. Instead, House leaders last week included similar language in a controversial bill that they knew would never become law. The Senators wrote, "Embedding 'no budget, no pay' in a bill that has no chance of passage is not fooling anybody."

In addition to Senator Stabenow, the letter was signed by Sens. Boxer (D-CA), Casey (D-PA), Begich (D-AK), Bennet (D-CO), Brown (D-OH), Coons (D-DE), Hagan (D-NC), Harkin (D-IA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Nelson (D-NE), Rockefeller (D-WV), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Whitehouse (D-RI), Warner (D-VA) and Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the Senators' letter is below:

April 5, 2011

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner:

We write to request a meeting with you to discuss House passage of S. 388, legislation to prohibit Members of Congress and the President from receiving any pay during a government shutdown.

Over one month has passed since the Senate unanimously passed this bill. Despite written requests for immediate House consideration from Senators and Representatives, you have failed to schedule a vote on stand-alone legislation that would treat Members of Congress and the President no differently from other federal employees during a government shutdown.

Our bill is simple: if we cannot do our work and keep the government functioning, we should not receive a paycheck. If we cannot compromise and meet each other halfway, then we should not be paid.

As we noted in a previous letter, while appearing on the CNN program "Crossfire" in 1995, you offered your support for a bill identical to S.388, so it is unclear why you have not scheduled a vote on stand-alone legislation. Embedding "no budget, no pay" in a bill that has no chance of passage, is not fooling anybody.

We request to meet with you as soon as possible, whether in person or via conference call, to discuss how we can work together to immediately send this legislation to the President.

Sincerely,

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Mark Begich
United States Senator

Michael Bennet
United States Senator

Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

Chris Coons
United States Senator

Kay Hagan
United States Senator

Tom Harkin
United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Joe Manchin, III
United States Senator

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Jeff Merkley
United States Senator

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

Ben Nelson
United States Senator

Jay Rockefeller
United States Senator

Jon Tester
United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

Mark Warner
United States Senator

Ron Wyden
United States Senator


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