POLITICS
12/22/2018 11:23 pm ET

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dares Congress To Halt Congressional Pay During Shutdowns

Members of Congress on both sides have also asked to abandon their salaries during the shutdown.

Angered by the current government shutdown, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is daring Congress to give up their salaries during future shutdowns. And as an incoming congresswoman, that means she’s willing to give up her own pay, too.

The New York Democrat on Saturday excoriated congress members who are getting paid while others, including hundreds of thousands federal workers, are furloughed.

“It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines & then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Have some integrity,” she added, in an apparent jab at her future colleagues in Congress.

The federal government officially shut down just before the holiday weekend after Democrats in Congress and the White House failed to come to an agreement over $5 billion in funding for President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican-U.S. border.

Legislators worked on negotiations throughout Friday to avoid a shutdown to no avail.

Earlier Friday, Trump blamed Democrats for holding up legislation that would include money needed for his border wall and threatened a “very long” shutdown.

“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED,” Trump tweeted. “If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”

During government shutdowns, thousands of federal employees are forced to work without being paid immediately ― from federal law enforcement officers and firefighters to TSA agents working during the busy holiday weekend.

But while the so-called furloughed federal employees are not paid during the shutdown, they typically receive paychecks for their work retroactively.

Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive, isn’t the only lawmaker to call for a stop to congressional salaries amid the shutdown.

Sen. Cortez Mastro (D-Nevada) on Saturday said she would not take in a salary during the shutdown. Instead, she said she would donate it to a charity “every day of the Trump shutdown.”

“Sadly, President Trump has brought our country into yet another crisis right before the holidays,” Mastro said in a statement. “The President can end the Trump shutdown today. Until then, I cannot take a salary knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) also requested her salary be withheld during the shutdown in a letter to Congress administration officials.

In the past, lawmakers have introduced bills to halt Congress’ pay during shutdowns, but none have ever made it far enough to become law.

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