When one-fourth of federal agencies closed at midnight Friday this left 800,000 workers without paychecks.
It is obvious that these workers have become pawns in a political game. And it is primarily a game being played by Republicans, who control every branch of the United States government.
Even though lawmakers went to the Capitol on Saturday, trying to resolve the stalemate, they could not agree on a deal to end the funding dispute.
Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a leading spokesperson for progressives, expressed her opinion when she wrote on Twitter:
“It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines & then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision.”
She then wrote “Have some integrity,” and called for congressional salaries to be furloughed for the next shutdown.
Government shutdowns affect agencies and employees that are funded through annual appropriations.
Thousands of federal employees in “nonessential” government functions are told to stay home and may be prohibited from showing up to work, and thus they won’t be paid.
In the past, however, Congress has acted to pay those employees as part of deals agreed upon to reopen the government after a shutdown occurred.
Federal workers will still be paid for the pay period ending Dec. 22, the White House Office of Management and Budget has said. But if the shutdown extends past Jan. 5, they will miss their next paycheck.
Salaries for members of Congress are written into permanent law, and most members make $174,000 per year.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the amount of her salary she is paid while the government is shut down will be donated to charities.
“I cannot take a salary during a government shutdown knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay,” Cortez Masto tweeted shortly after the shutdown began at midnight.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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