Here’s a good explanation from Nicholas Kristof of why and how Congress could possibly continue earning their federal paychecks during a government shutdown:
The Senate passed a bill proposed by Barbara Boxer of California that would suspend Congressional paychecks in any government shutdown, but the Republican-controlled House has blocked it. House Republicans approved a similar pay suspension, but it was embedded in legislation that has zero chance of becoming law.
The upshot is that federal workers who do important work for the public — cleaning up toxic waste, enrolling sick people into lifesaving medical trials, answering medical hot lines, running national parks, processing passport applications — risk being sent home and going unpaid. But members of Congress would continue to receive $174,000 a year. As the humorist Andy Borowitz wrote in a Twitter message: “That’s like eliminating the fire dept & sending checks to the arsonists.”
It would be big news to Fox’s Neil Cavuto and John Stossel (and the tea party) that there are ‘non-essential‘ feds who do important work. According to Cavuto and Stossel, the furloughed feds are “paper-pushers,” and giving them back-pay is a “handout.”
Non-essential personnel is an oxymoron. (via)