(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other colleagues today to pledge that he would not accept his federal salary in the event of a government shutdown. Blumenthal has previously said that another continuing resolution as a temporary stop-gap measure – in place of a serious budget agreement – is unacceptable, as vital services and agencies like our armed forces, veterans’ programs, and others depend on reliable and stable funding.
“I will not--nor should any member of Congress--take home a paycheck while seniors, servicemembers, and middle class families in Connecticut and across the country struggle with the devastating economic effects of a government shutdown,” said Blumenthal. “That is why I pledge to the people of Connecticut that I will not accept my federal salary in the event that the government shuts down – and I’ll return that money to the Treasury.”
The text of Senator Manchin’s letter to Senate colleagues follows:
April 7, 2011
Every passing hour, the looming possibility of a government shutdown becomes more real. The truth is, a shutdown may disrupt vital government services that that matter to our servicemembers, children, seniors, veterans and all American families.
The fact is, the American people elected us to do a job – a job that means we must work together and not allow ideology or partisanship to needlessly divide us and prevent us from reaching a commonsense agreement.
While millions of American families will be impacted by a government shutdown- whether they are serving our country’s military, whether someone in their family is furloughed or whether they are unable to use critical government services – elected officials are the one group who will not be impacted. Just the opposite, in fact: we still get paid.
How does that make any sense?
That is why, if the government shuts down, I will take this pledge, and I urge you all – from the President and Vice President to Members of Congress – to take it with me:
I will forego my federal salary until we reach an agreement. I will donate my salary to charity or return it to the Treasure until the government works again.
In the Senate, we tried to make this commonsense measure the law of our country, and we unanimously passed legislation from Senators Boxer and Casey to prevent lawmakers and the President from drawing a salary if the government shuts down. Unfortunately, that legislation is going nowhere in the House.
The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the President, Vice President or any Member of Congress – Republican or Democrat – thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down.
Finally, some in Washington will deride this as an empty gesture. To those naysayers, I say that the American people expect more of us. They expect us to lead by example and share their pain until a budget resolution is reached that reflects our values and priorities as a country.
Again, I urge you to send the American people the right message and join with me to sign the “No Budget, No Pay” Pledge.
Senator Joe Manchin III