If members of Congress fail at their basic job of passing a sensible budget to keep government functioning, the least they can do is show some solidarity with the thousands of Washington federal employees likely to suffer from their inaction.
Give U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer a light pat on the back for being the first member of Washington’s congressional delegation to make a personal sacrifice following the government shutdown of 2013.
The Gig Harbor Democrat posted the following tweet on Monday after it became clear the House and Senate had reached an impasse:
As this KING 5 report notes, the U.S. Constitution actually requires members of Congress be paid automatically, but they can still return funds or donate to charity. Representatives and senators make $174,000 annually.
Back in January, Washington’s three freshman Democratic representatives signed on to a “no budget, no pay” provision in a previous bill to temporarily raise the debt ceiling. Our editorial board had hoped this gimmick would help to end an era of brinksmanship. It didn’t work to avert this latest shutdown, but at least U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene and Denny Heck joined Kilmer in staying true to their word by posting the following tweets Tuesday:
DelBene gets extra kudos for consistency. “When sequestration began earlier this year, I returned 8.2% of my salary back to the Treasury, and for the duration of this shutdown, I will return the remainder of my personal salary as well,” she announced on her web site. (Note: DelBene can do this because she’s also the wealthiest member of Washington’s delegation. According to this 2012 Seattle Times news report, her average net worth is estimated at $53 million.)