Spanberger, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Block Congressional Pay During Defaults or Shutdowns

The “No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act” Would Withhold the Paychecks of Members of Congress During Any Default or Federal Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) today introduced a bipartisan bill that would block Members of Congress from receiving their pay during any default or government shutdown.

The No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act would block the pay of Members of Congress if the public debt limit is reached or a federal government shutdown occurs.

“An economic default would be catastrophic for the Virginia communities I represent — and the Virginians I serve are well aware of the detrimental impacts of government shutdowns. 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,” said Spanberger. “Working Americans get it — if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. I want to thank my colleague Congressman Fitzpatrick for his partnership on this commonsense legislation — a bipartisan bill that would not only incentivize cooperation during moments of looming default, but also pressure elected officials to keep the doors of our government open, the livelihoods of our federal employees protected, and the American people secure.”

“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,” said Fitzpatrick. “Our bipartisan legislation is a no-brainer — lawmakers should not be paid if we irresponsibly default on our nation’s debt.”

Specifically, the No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act would require congressional payroll administrators to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks on any day the public debt limit is reached or a lapse in federal government funding begins. During the current Congress, if either scenario occurs, the payroll administrators would be required to withhold payments for each day the debt ceiling is not lifted following a default — or for each day following the start of a federal government shutdown.

In compliance with the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, congressional payroll administrators — such as the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) in the U.S. House — would release withheld payments at the end of the 118th Congress.

Last week, Spanberger called on the CAO to begin making preparations for blocking Members of Congress from receiving their pay until the debt ceiling is lifted.

Click here for the full bill text.

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