This has been doing the rounds, I’m sure, but I thought it was a good example of Representatives being completely divorced from reality. On Monday, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield grilled two GOP representatives about the impending government shutdown. She put a simple question to Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
“So you are both paid $174,000 a year, and that is the salary… Would you be prepared to add some rider or amendment on to a continuing resolution that would take you out of the essential services category and stop payment on your paychecks in order to get a continuing resolution through — and yes or no?”
Naturally, neither representative was able to answer the yes-or-no question, and instead Blackburn wittered something about the national debt (Rush to Talking Points for the Win?), and Rohrabacher just stood there like a big galoot.
Given that the shutdown will cut off pay for hundreds of thousands of government employees who are deemed “non-essential”, and given that this whole SNAFU surrounds some exaggerated and (often) demented ideas about government funding and spending, I think this is an entirely valid question. Not to mention, an entirely valid penalty – they obviously cannot do their jobs. So why shouldn’t they be penalised for helping shut the government down? Too often, members of Congress and the Senate are exempt from penalties that should result from their own fecklessness or bad behaviour. Surely the first place to look for savings in a time like this, would be in the House? [As I have clarified in the past, during similar disputes in the US Government, I do only aim this at Representatives’ salaries, and not their staffers.]
Since this clip aired, the US Government has, of course, now been shut down. Roll on the Debt Ceiling Crisis! It’s going to be another end-of-year carnival of infantile posturing and idiocy on the Hill…