The Hill: Bipartisan lawmakers eye blocking pay for members of Congress if US defaults, government shuts down

THE HILL, STEPHEN NEUKAM

A bipartisan duo of House lawmakers unveiled a bill that would block members of Congress from being paid if the U.S. defaults, as Washington continues high-profile talks over raising the debt ceiling.

Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the bill, the “No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act,” on Thursday, as the U.S. faces a national debt default if it is unable to lift its borrowing limit.

The deadline for such a move is looming, with the Treasury Department saying the country would be unable to pay its bills as soon as June 1. Now, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the White House are locked in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling and national spending.

“If Congress can’t fulfill basic obligations tied to the strength and security of our country, lawmakers should not be rewarded with our salaries until we do our jobs,” Spanberger said in a statement.

Fitzpatrick said their legislation was a “no-brainer.”

“Members of Congress promise to fight for their constituents in Washington, and should not be paid a taxpayer-funded salary if they cannot deliver on that promise,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in a statement.

Experts have warned that a U.S. default would be disastrous for both the national economy and international markets. Republicans have demanded that the White House and Democrats commit to spending cuts before raising the debt ceiling. The White House has previously insisted on Congress passing a “clean” debt ceiling.

While initial conversations seemed to yield little results, conversations advanced this week after President Biden tapped two senior advisers to negotiate a debt ceiling deal with McCarthy.

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