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Some Ohio members of Congress pledge to forgo pay during shutdown

January 8, 2019

Some Ohio members of Congress pledge to forgo pay during shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Newly seated U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez wasn’t yet in Congress when a standoff over border wall funding between Congress and President Donald Trump triggered a partial government shutdown that’s entering its third week.

The Rocky River Republican nonetheless pledged Tuesday to donate any congressional pay he earns during the shutdown to Northeast Ohio nonprofit groups that support survivors of human trafficking, rape, domestic abuse and addiction. His office said House ethics rules bar him from listing the groups who will receive his pay.

“While I was not in Congress when this shutdown started ... I cannot sit by and collect a paycheck while some of my constituents are furloughed, and Congressional leadership shouldn’t either,” said a statement from Gonzalez. “Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are currently facing furloughs across the nation, with some of those in Northeast Ohio. Our nation’s leaders need to put aside partisan politics and come together and put forth a real bipartisan solution that will fund our government and secure our border.”

Gonzalez is among several dozen Congress members who have said they’ll donate their salaries to charity or have their pay withheld while government workers aren’t being paid. Most U.S. Senators and congressmen earn $174,000 per year, with a few who hold leadership positions, like the Speaker of the House, earning more. Cleveland.com has asked every member of Ohio’s entire congressional whether they plan to accept their salary during the shutdown and is still awaiting answers from most of them.

If Congress can’t keep the government fully operational, we shouldn’t get paid. It’s that simple. pic.twitter.com/v8JIrbkwgM— Dave Joyce (@RepDaveJoyce) December 22, 2018

The morning the government shutdown started, Republican congressmen Dave Joyce of Bainbridge Township and Bob Latta of Bowling Green announced that they’d asked the House of Representatives to withhold their pay until an appropriations agreement takes effect.

“If Congress can’t keep the government fully operational, we shouldn’t get paid,” Joyce said on Twitter. It’s that simple.”

In a statement posted on Facebook, Latta blamed the U.S. Senate for failing to support a bill the House of Representatives adopted before the shutdown that would have provided the disputed border wall funding that Trump has requested. He also noted that much of the government won’t be affected by the shutdown because of the funding bills that Congress was able to pass last year.

“That being said, Members of Congress shouldn’t be receiving their paycheck while others, including our border patrol agents, are not receiving theirs,” Latta’s statement said. “I have asked the Chief Administrative Officer to withhold my pay during this partial shutdown. I urge the Senate to take the actions necessary to open the government and secure the border.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman told reporters on Tuesday that he, too, will have his pay withheld.

“I won’t be accepting my pay check during the shutdown,” Portman said.

Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs of Holmes County will also have his pay withheld during the shutdown “as long as essential employees are working without pay,” said his spokesman, Dallas Gerber. He said Gibbs will introduce a bill this evening that provides for “essential employees” like border patrol agents and federal law enforcement officers to receive normal pay during funding lapses.

“Those required to work regardless of a shutdown, whose job is related to national security and law enforcement, should be paid,” said Gerber.

Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan is not among those who will forgo pay during the standoff, says his spokesman, Michael Zetts.

“Rep. Ryan doesn’t believe any federal employees should have their paychecks held hostage for a $5 billion vanity project for Donald Trump,” said Zetts. “He is focused on reopening the government and ensuring every employee receives back pay, not political face-saving maneuvers.”

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