After a record-breaking thirty-five day government shutdown that cost the US economy an estimated $11 billion, Congress has an opportunity to prevent future shutdowns from ever occurring. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are calling for the passage of legislation to sustain current federal funding levels during congressional budgeting impasses. A bill from Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) would keep government funding at current levels, except for any funding for the legislative branch and the White House. Republican lawmakers have also proposed anti shutdown legislation, however Warner’s bill is the only one that freezes congress’s pay during budget disagreements.
In the House, Representatives. Golden (R-ME), Crenshaw (R-TX) and Rose (D-NY) have introduced similar legislation known as the Solidarity in Salary Act of 2019, which would suspend the pay for the President, Vice President, and Congress until the government reopens. Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has voiced support for a provision to automatically sustain current funding levels if an appropriations bill does not pass by a certain deadline. As Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stated, “Shutting down the government should be as off limits in budget negotiations as chemical warfare is in real warfare.”
Federal employees, contractors, and the millions of Americans who depend on the federal government for services should not be held hostage during contentious appropriations debates. Congress must act to pass commonsense, bipartisan legislation to prevent future government shutdowns.
Three calls to make: Senators Kennedy and Cassidy, and Representative Richmond or Scalise
Senator Bill Cassidy: DC Office: 202-224-5824; Metairie office: 504-838-0130; Monroe: 318-324-2111; Lake Charles: 337-493-5398; Alexandria: 318-448-7176
Senator John Kennedy: DC office: 202-224-4623; New Orleans: 504-581-6190; Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; Shreveport: (318) 670-5192
Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative. If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Representative Cedric Richmond - in DC at (202) 225-6636, and in New Orleans at (504) 288-3777
Representative Steve Scalise - in DC at (202) 225-3015, and in Metairie at (504) 837-1259
Hello. My name is [Your Name] and I'm an active voter from New Orleans, ZIP Code 70118 [Or wherever you’re from].
WHEN CALLING OUR SENATORS: I'm calling to urge the senator to support the Stop STUPIDITY Act to prevent future government shutdowns while holding Congress and the White House accountable for reaching a timely funding agreement. The entire government should not be held hostage over appropriations negotiations.
WHEN CALLING YOUR REPRESENTATIVE: I'm calling to urge the represetative to support the Solidarity in Salary Act of 2019 so congress and the White House do not receive pay during a federal shutdown. Lawmakers should experience the hardship faced by federal workers held hostage over appropriations negotiations.
This call is adapted from 5calls.org, which can be viewed here.