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Reps. Curtis, McAdams Giving Up Pay During Government Shutdown

Photo of John Curtis.
Nicole Nixon / KUER
Rep. John Curtis halted his congressional paycheck on Thursday until after the government is fully funded. Utah's freshman Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams also opted to hold his paycheck.

As the partial government shutdown enters its third week, roughly 800,000 federal workers are still without pay. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said members of Congress should forfeit pay during government shutdowns, too.

The Provo Republican introduced the “No Work, No Pay Act of 2019” Thursday, the first day of Congress. Additionally, he is voluntarily halting his own congressional paycheck until the government is fully funded.

“Federal employees who have no control over this are the ones who pay for it,” Curtis said in his House office Friday. “I think it’s only fair that I withhold my pay and experience the same pain that we’re subjecting them to. I think that would be good medicine for all of us.”

Curtis said he is frustrated that in the 13 months he has been in office, portions of the government have shut down three separate times.

The partial shutdown has dragged on since before Christmas, when negotiations over a border security package stalled. President Trump has demanded more than $5 billion to build a border wall, which Democrats are refusing.

Curtis’ proposal is the latest iteration of a bill that has come up several times in the past year, but never passed. Two lawmakers, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. and Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., introduced similar measures in 2018.

“These victories are won by swaying one person at a time,” Curtis said of the bill’s long odds.

His legislation may have one early supporter: freshman Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams.

“I look forward to seeing the specifics of that bill. I think that’s something I would support as well,” McAdams said Friday.

Like Curtis, McAdams said he has asked the House to withhold his pay until the government reopens.

“If Congress can’t do their basic job of keeping the government funded and open, then nobody should get paid,” he said.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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