In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Dems Press Boehner To Suspend Congressional Pay In Event Of Government Shutdown


The legislation raises constitutional questions. The 27th Amendment holds "No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." The intent of that amendment is to prevent members of Congress from giving themselves huge pay increases after winning an election. But it works both ways. During the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, then-candidate John Edwards raised the same questions when he said his first act as President would be to introduce legislation stripping members of their health benefits if they failed to pass a universal health care bill by date certain.

But the politics are obvious. Who wants to be on record saying they want to keep getting paid while the government shuts down over their unwillingness to compromise.

You can read Matheson's letter here, and the Senate letter, written by Barbara Boxer (D-CA), here.

[Ed note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post identified Brad Dayspring as a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. He is a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. We regret the mistake.]

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at