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Public demands that Congress cut its pay fly in the face of the Constitution

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather Quill

If you think it’s arrogant and unfair for Congress to maintain its current level of pay during a government shutdown, you should blame the nation’s FOUNDING FATHERS:

[During the current government shutdown] hundreds of thousands of federal employees around the country who are paid through annual appropriations will be furloughed without pay as long as it lasts.  Millions more, including active-duty members of the military, will be required to report to work without a salary until the government goes back to regular operations. Although service members and other federal workers have been paid retroactively after past shutdowns, the House and Senate would have to approve the back pay, which is not guaranteed.

Members of Congress will have no such dilemma about the future of their own finances this week because the 27th Amendment to the Constitution specifically stipulates that the salaries of the House and Senate cannot change until a congressional election has come and gone. Members of both chambers currently make $174,000.

The 27th Amendment was originally hatched by the Founding Fathers and ratified in 1992 to prevent senators and House members from boosting their own salaries before an election. But the reality is that Congress is now the only class explicitly protected by the Constitution from financial pain in the event that they themselves fail to fund regular government operations. Even their own congressional staff members will be furloughed or go to work on Capitol Hill without the promise of getting paid once the dust settles.

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