As partial shutdown enters fourth week, Delgado joins Maloney in declining salary
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
As the U.S. government shutdown enters its fourth week, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and 79 other lawmakers have declined to accept their $174,000 annual salaries while federal employees remain furloughed or work without pay.
According to members’ statements and news media surveys, as of Friday evening 64 of the 434 members of the House (37 Republicans and 27 Democrats) and 16 of the 100 senators (10 Democrats and 6 Republicans) were relinquishing their pay. Most said they would not accept their paychecks; a few said they would give the money to charity.
The shutdown, which covers many but not all federal functions, affects some 800,000 federal employees and numerous others paid as independent contractors. While employees can expect to receive back pay eventually, independent contractors typically cannot.
Maloney, who lives in Philipstown, was among the first to eschew a paycheck, on Dec. 22, when the shutdown began. The newly elected Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat whose 19th District includes part of Dutchess County, joined the group on Thursday (Jan. 10).
Besides Maloney and Delgado, those eschewing pay include five other House members from New York state (two Republicans and three Democrats). The state’s two senators have not joined the campaign. Congress comprises a separate branch of government and under the Constitution its members are paid regardless of what happens in the White House.
The shutdown began when Congress produced budget legislation that did not include $5.7 billion that President Donald Trump wants for a border wall; his refusal to accept a measure without the wall money produced a stalemate while funding for much government activity ran out. “The Trump tantrum has to come to an end, so we can get our federal workers paid and get down to business here in Washington,” Maloney said in a statement on Jan. 3.
In an Oval Office address Tuesday night (Jan. 8), the president blamed Democrats for the impasse. In response, Maloney argued that “we can have border security and fund the government at the same time.”