GOP pays only lip service to spending cuts as it affects their wages
With yet one more delay the battle of the budget between Democrats and Tea Party-controlled Republicans has been put on hold until … maybe … this Saturday. Some 800,000 federal employees, including our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, will not get a paycheck if the government does shut down. But the die-hard Tea Partiers within the Republican caucus will still get theirs, despite an effort by Democrats to change the law that would include Congress and their staff.
Back in February, as talks of shutdown were being flayed about by House speaker John Boehner and his colleague Eric Cantor, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) “announced she was introducing legislation to stop members of Congress from being paid during a shutdown.” according to a statement on the Politifact.com website
“Failing to keep the government open because of politics, or because there’s no will to compromise, is a failure of government,” Boxer said. “If the government is forced to shut down, members of Congress and the president should be treated like all other federal employees: We should not be paid. And to take it one step further, we should not be paid retroactively once the government re-opens.”
However, the cowardly lions of the U.S. Congress went along with this ONLY as a rider to a House bill they KNEW would be rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Which bill might that be you may ask? That would be Mr. Cantor’s Government Shutdown Prevention Act, that essentially said that “if the Senate doesn’t approve a budget, then the provisions of the House budget bill already rejected by the Senate ‘are hereby enacted into law.’”
This of course is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and if Cantor wasn’t aware of this he most certainly should have been. By now it is to his shame that this bill even saw the light of day AND that nearly ever Republican voted for it, allowing it to pass by a slim margin of 221 to 202. Knowing, as I am sure he did, that this bill didn’t meet constitutional muster, the feeble attempt by Republicans to sign on to Boxer’s challenge was attached to this foolish piece of legislation.
Cantor has not responded publicly to anyone on what his thoughts were regarding such a lame bill and attaching an amendment to it to cut his and other congressional personnel’s pay if the government does shut down. Longtime government watcher Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute called Cantor’s bill “farcical”.
“Of course, no bill can be ‘deemed’ into law without passage by both houses in identical form and the signature of the president (or a veto overridden by two-thirds of both houses).” Ornstein said. “I have never seen anything like this, for good reason. This is all about one thing and one thing only: trying to shift blame if there is a shutdown,” he added.
The Democrats made one further attempt to circumvent the GOP’s cowardly avoidance to cut their pay as they cut other federal workers’ pay. According to the Politifact.com report, “the House had a chance to vote on a more straightforward “no budget, no pay” bill, without the references to one-chamber approval of the House budget bill.
There was a motion to substitute the text of Boxer’s bill and remove references to H.R. 1, the house budget bill. But the motion, proposed by Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., failed on a largely party line vote, with Republicans voting no and Democrats voting yes.”
Though the report notes that cutting Congress’ or the Executive’s pay may be in violation of the Constitution (Article II, Sec. 1 and the 27th amendment), if those tough guys in the GOP are really serious to demonstrate they can take what they dish out then they can take their checks and then sign them over to a legitimate not-for-profit charity of their choice. Anyone taking odds on when and if this will happen?