Washington politicians could learn a lot from folks back home in Missouri. In Missouri, people don’t get paid for working until they get their job done. Washington should be held to that same standard. As it became clear Monday night that President Obama and Harry Reid were not willing to negotiate with House conservatives, I became one of the first Members of Congress to ask for my congressional salary to be withheld during the government shutdown.
Over 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed as a result of the shutdown. That’s 800,000 families who will not receive a paycheck until the shutdown is over. I could not in good conscience, take my congressional salary while families across our country are struggling to make ends meet. Members of Congress should be held to the same standard that is applied to other Americans. It angers me when some elected leaders fail to recognize they do not deserve special treatment.
To further my mission of fairness for all Americans, I made a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives to challenge my colleagues in the House, and members of the Senate, to join me in having their congressional salary withheld during the shutdown. Now let me tell you, this challenge has not won me any friends from the ruling class in Washington, but I have never been afraid to stand up to powerful people and call for fairness. Since I challenged other Members of Congress to have their pay withheld, over 100 members have joined my efforts and are refusing their congressional salary during the shutdown.
As the House of Representatives continues work to end President Obama’s shutdown and fund vital government operations, some in Washington are playing political games. This week I went to the World War II Memorial to greet Missouri Honor Flight Veterans. I was appalled to see the memorial barricaded and closed. Along with other Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, I personally escorted the veterans into their memorial. It made me sick to see the Obama Administration had closed the World War II Memorial to try and score political points. Heroes from our Greatest Generation should never be used as political pawns.
My chief goal in the United States House of Representatives is to be an accurate and effective representative for families and individuals in our Eighth District. While folks at home are feeling the pain of President Obama’s government shutdown, it would not be fair for me to be held to a different standard. Back home in Missouri, you get paid when you get the job done. I am holding myself to that same standard and forfeiting my government salary during the shutdown. It’s about fairness for all.