Representative Tulsi Gabbard has vowed to send her paycheck back to the Treasury for as long as the federal government remains closed. In a press release last week, Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said members of Congress should not be exempt from the shutdown. "In a shutdown," she said, "tens of thousands of Hawai‘i families will bear this burden; I want them to know I will stand with them.”
In an extended shutdown, most of the federal workforce will go without pay, but Congress's pay is protected by the Constitution, which restricts any Congress from changing its own pay.
"That is disgraceful in my view," Gabbard told CNN. "Basically the only people who get paid in a shutdown are members of Congress and that is irresponsible."
Gabbard, a combat veteran, also introduced legislation last week to ensure servicemembers and critical Defense Department civilian workers would continue to receive pay in the event of a shutdown. President Obama signed a similar piece of legislation, the Pay Our Military Act, into effect on Monday night.