Should Congress Still be Paid During the Federal Government Shutdown?

Almost two weeks into the federal government shutdown, there are still 800,000 employees sitting at home, waiting for Congress to approve a budget and allow them to get back to work.

Some progress has been made in the completely avoidable stoppage—President Obama and House Republicans actually met!—but ultimately they’re still at odds.

Polls show that Republicans are mostly being blamed for the shutdown.

A bill has been passed that will give federal workers back-pay once the shutdown ends, but members of Congress face no such threat, as their salaries are guaranteed.

Ro Khanna, a challenger to incumbent Mike Honda (D-San Jose), recently said he wouldn’t take his paycheck if he were in office, and he challenged Honda to do the same.

“There ought to be consequences for Congress’s inability to do its job,” Khanna wrote in a letter to Honda. “Members ought to be accountable to the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

Khanna added that not taking pay “would be a show of good faith to your constituents here in the 17th District who expect better from Congress and their own representative.”

When asked for a response, Honda’s spokesman Anthony Kusich replied, “He’s taking his paycheck.”

Khanna is not alone in asking why Congress gets paid for not doing its job while 800,000 federal workers are furloughed. A handful of California’s congressional leaders have already stopped taking their paychecks during the shutdown or, in the case of California senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, donated them to charity.

Circulating petitions are requesting that members of Congress give up their pay during the shutdown. A petition on has already gathered more than 410,000 signatures.


  1. Congress is failing us, making a game out of this situation and should absolutely not be paid during the shutdown.  The Republicans, who are not solely to blame, have been planning this standoff for months.

  2. “A bill has been passed that gives federal workers back-pay once the shutdown ends.”

    So, why are 800,000 government employees going to take payment for work they didn’t do? Seems pretty damned dishonorable. They are guaranteed to get paid. So why not do their jobs? The only thing keeping them from doing their jobs is our Government’s desire to put We The People in our place. To teach us a lesson. Some of our more courageous representatives were getting uppity so a little ass whuppin’ was in order.
    If anything, Tea Party congressmen should be awarded a bonus for exposing government employment for what it has truly become- just another taxpayer funded entitlement program.

  3. So, Ro is basically saying that Congressman Honda should give in to Republican hostage takers and defund Health Care Reform?

    I think Ro’s attack on Congressman Honda is unfair and ridiculous. Congressman Honda is the example of a middle-class man representing middle-class values.

    One way to keep millionaires in Congress is to prevent middle-class Congress members from being paid for a mess they have not created.

    Like President Obama has said, this budget shutdown and debt ceiling fight is one faction, of one party, in one house of one branch of government.

    Self-interested Ro Khanna can’t find any real issue to attack Congressman Honda than whether he should be getting paid. Ok, so Ro can afford to skip a few paychecks. Some people were not born with silver spoons in their mouths.

  4. Ro, Reminds me of a small dog, that bites you about the ankles as you walk away. His bark is worst than his bite. So why do so many high rollers want this noisey little criticizer to be their politician?
    Follow the money folks. The drama these past few years has been spectacular. The smaller the Mercury News gets, the more dramatic San Jose Inside becomes.
    I was a paper boy for many years. Palm Haven Park 275 paper 7 days a week. Now when I go to the 7-11 to buy the cron and the Merc,I question how any paper Boy could fold the mercury and get it to go any distance to the pouch from the curb. Perhaps putting a rock inside for distance? A buck and a half? give us a break!
      The Village Black Smith

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