Olivia Orme, Entry #3

10/6/13

Congress still gets paid in the government shut down

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/politics/shutdown-congress-staff-paid/index.html?iref=allsearch

The article was published on September 30th, right as the shut down had begun, and talks about the effects of the shut down on Congress. While the majority of government employee’s in the US are currently sitting at home, forced out of a job and going without pay, Congress is not feeling the same draw backs. While many do not want a paycheck, feeling that it is unfair to other employee’s of the government, they still must recieve one. Why? “The 27th Amendment to the Constitution restricts any Congress from changing its own pay. The measure was proposed in the first days of the Republic but was not ratified until 1992, after a grass-roots movement promoted the idea and the necessary number of state legislatures approved it. While many may have wanted to restrain Congress from increasing its pay, the amendment also blocks Congress from freezing or cutting its compensation” (Paragraph 4).

Congress therefore cannot deny their paycheck, because the Constitution declares they must receive one. Most Congress members have decided to not take the paycheck for themselves, but instead donate it to charity, or give it to their staff members that will remain with them during the shut down. Congress doesn’t want to appear greedy or selfish, so by giving it to others instead of taking it for themselves sends the right message to the people. A few members are going to give it back to the treasury in attempts to lower the debt, but the US still has a long way to go until that is resolved.

The article really hits home on how much the American people will be suffering for the remainder that the government is shut down, and how detrimental it can be to not receive a pay check. I find it interesting that the Constitution lists that Congress and other government employee’s must still be paid while others cannot, as it appears to be an unfair advantage for the elite over the many others who cannot be paid during this time. However, giving their paycheck to charity, employee’s, or returning it to the treasury is a good way to protest the shut down and prove that even though they might be getting paid, not all of them are actually keeping the check. I think this article is very important because it marks just how far the government has fallen in its inability to agree on a budget, and how far we have fallen compared to when our country first began. Looking back at the principles and original documents such as the Constitution that our government was built upon, one cannot help but wonder what they would think looking at the government now. The ideals of loyalty and creating a government for the people appears to have been lost today, and Congress along with the House need to remember what principles built our government in order to restore order to economy. As a nation, we are crumbling under the debt, and need to find a compromise to reopen the government. Congress and other government members choosing other ways to use their salary sets a good example that they are willing to go without so others don’t have to, but they need to focus on finding a solution and reopening so the many that lack income can return to work, and rebuild our economy.

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