U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA) today introduced the Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act, legislation that would prevent Members of Congress and the President of the United States from being paid during a default or shutdown of the federal government.
"A default on our nation's debt or a deliberate shutdown of our government would be a disaster for our economy and hurt millions of Americans," Senator Boxer said. "This legislation would send a simple message to members of Congress -- if you take these actions that will severely harm the American people, you don't deserve and won't receive a paycheck."
"This is common sense legislation that ensures that lawmakers are held accountable for a failure to act in the best interest of our economy and nation," said Senator Casey. "Playing roulette with the credit standing and functioning of the United States government is simply an unacceptable risk to the security of middle class Americans."
Senators Boxer and Casey introduced the same legislation in the 112th Congress, which passed the Senate in March 2011 by unanimous consent. However, the House refused to act on the measure.
In recent weeks, leading Republicans have threatened to default on the nation's debt or shut down the government if their demands are not met. Economists and business leaders have warned that a default would have catastrophic impacts on the global financial system and the U.S. economy, and a government shutdown would hurt millions of Americans by disrupting Social Security checks, benefits for veterans and paychecks for our troops.
The Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act would prevent Members of Congress and the President from being paid retroactively after a government shutdown, and also would prevent them from being paid if the public debt limit is reached and the government defaults on its financial obligations.
Currently, members of Congress and the President are treated differently from millions of other federal employees because they 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. The Boxer-Casey bill would fix this inequity by saying that the President and Members of Congress "shall not receive basic pay for any period in which there is more than a 24 hour lapse in appropriations for any Federal agency or department as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or continuing resolution OR if the Federal Government is unable to make payments or meet obligations because the debt limit has been reached."