Spanberger, Fitzpatrick: Congress shouldn’t get paid if we default on the debt
U.S. & World

Spanberger, Fitzpatrick: Congress shouldn’t get paid if we default on the debt

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Abigail Spanberger is following up on her promise to try to block members of Congress from getting paid during a debt ceiling-related government shutdown.

Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat, and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, today introduced a bipartisan bill, styled the No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act, which would block the pay of members of Congress if the public debt limit is reached or a federal government shutdown occurs.

“An economic default would be catastrophic for the Virginia communities I represent — and the Virginians I serve are well aware of the detrimental impacts of government shutdowns. If Congress can’t fulfill basic obligations tied to the strength and security of our country, lawmakers should not be rewarded with our salaries until we do our jobs,” said Spanberger, who last week called on the Chief Administrative Office to begin making preparations for blocking members of Congress from receiving their pay until the debt ceiling is lifted.

“Working Americans get it — if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid,” Spanberger said. “I want to thank my colleague Congressman Fitzpatrick for his partnership on this commonsense legislation — a bipartisan bill that would not only incentivize cooperation during moments of looming default, but also pressure elected officials to keep the doors of our government open, the livelihoods of our federal employees protected, and the American people secure.”

The No Pay for Congress During Default or Shutdown Act would require congressional payroll administrators to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks on any day the public debt limit is reached or a lapse in federal government funding begins.

During the current Congress, if either scenario occurs, the payroll administrators would be required to withhold payments for each day the debt ceiling is not lifted following a default — or for each day following the start of a federal government shutdown.

In compliance with the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, congressional payroll administrators — such as the Chief Administrative Office in the U.S. House — would release withheld payments at the end of the 118th Congress.

“Members of Congress promise to fight for their constituents in Washington, and should not be paid a taxpayer-funded salary if they cannot deliver on that promise,” said Fitzpatrick. “Our bipartisan legislation is a no-brainer — lawmakers should not be paid if we irresponsibly default on our nation’s debt.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page,