Senate OKs Withholding Pay From Lawmakers, President in Shutdown

Posted March 1, 2011 at 7:48pm

Despite constitutional concerns, the Senate passed a bill proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer by unanimous consent Tuesday that would block the president and Members of Congress from getting a salary during a government shutdown.

“If we fail to keep the government operating, which is our basic responsibility, then we don’t deserve a paycheck,” the California Democrat said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy criticized the proposal on the floor as violating Article 2 of the Constitution, which forbids Congress from cutting the president’s salary during his term in office. But the Vermont Democrat ultimately did not object to the proposal.

Sen. Tom Coburn had objected to the proposal, but the Oklahoma Republican eventually dropped it.