It's Thursday in America, which means a government shutdown spurred by congressional failure to pass a federal budget may be soon upon us. But some lawmakers are keen to avert yet another budget crisis, and they're getting creative with ways to achieve that goal.
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) have filed a bill that would require senators to stay in Washington and close to the Senate floor during budget deliberations. Any senators caught playing hooky would be subject to arrest by the Senate sergeant at arms. "This forces people to be here, on the Senate floor, working it out and finding solutions," Gardner explains.
Meanwhile, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) has introduced legislation that would slash congressional salaries by the amount of a single day's pay for every day the shutdown is in effect. The longest government shutdown lasted 21 days in the 1990s, and at the current base salary rate of $174,000, that would be about a $10,000 pay cut. "In every other profession, if you don't do your job, you don't get paid," Schrader told McClatchy. "Why on Earth should we be any different?"