Thursday, April 07, 2011

Notes on the Likely Government Shutdown

As of this writing the government is scheduled to shutdown tomorrow. CNN has prepared a chart showing what would be open and closed during a shutdown. Here are a few things I've learned via twitter over the past day or two.

The Senate passed a bill that would stop congressional pay if the government shut down. From "No Budget No Pay for Congress":

S388, Co-Sponsored by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, would stop Members of Congress and the President from getting paid during a government shutdown. Under current law, their paychecks are not affected in the event of a shutdown.

The Stabenow legislation would close that loophole and make sure elected officials are living by the same rules as everybody else. In addition, the legislation would not allow back pay for lawmakers and the president for any days worked during a shutdown.

Pennsylvania's Sen. Bob Casey wrote an op-ed in favor of stopping lawmaker's pay.

The bill was voted down in the House. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi points out that while Congress voted to keep their own pay in a voted along party lines with Republicans opting to continue being paid, they also voted along party lines not to continue military pay during a shutdown. Yes, most Republicans voted to keep their own pay but to cut off troops in the field and their families at home. From Pelosi's web site:
In addition, Democrats believe elected officials should not receive their taxpayer-funded paycheck if they can’t do their jobs and keep public services up and running. The Senate has already passed legislation to prevent Members of Congress from being paid, but last Friday Republicans in the House voted down a Democratic Motion to Recommit that if Republicans force a government shutdown, Members of Congress and the President would not get paid by a vote of 188-237.

Democrats are also committed to supporting our troops, veterans, and their families–they should not have to pay any price for a Republican forced shutdown. Today, Rep. Owens offered a Motion to Recommit to ensure that our troops will get paid. Republicans, with the exception of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), voted down the motion 191-236.

One of the main sticking points seems to be the Republican insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood. I hope the Democrats stick to their principles on this one. Planned Parenthood provides basic health services for many women (including me in my college and immediate post-college years).

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