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To the editor:
It goes without saying that America is in a difficult place. We are divided on so many issues, even within our own families. But we can all agree that when the government shuts down, the wrong people pay for it.
It’s time for members of Congress and their highest-paid staff members to be docked salary when they can’t decide on annual budgets before the start of a new fiscal year.
Continuing resolutions and government shutdowns waste taxpayer dollars year after year. Congress should be making tough decisions about how much the government should spend and for what.
When they refuse to make decisions about the annual budgets of federal agencies, they create waste and chaos – without facing any consequences. Members of Congress and their senior staff are receiving their salaries during the shutdown even though they created this mess. Federal workers did their jobs, but they are not getting paid.
Every time it looks like federal workers might be furloughed because of lapses in federal appropriations, agencies must prepare furlough notices for thousands of employees and develop shutdown plans. This wastes millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours.
While the things we want Congress to fund and tax may be different, Congress’s failure to make decisions is seriously bad for the health of our democracy. The eyes of the world are focused on America, the eyes of the American people are focused on the government and the eyes of the Lord are focused on everybody.
Regardless of where you stand on the policies and funding that are being debated during this shutdown, we need to stand together as a people and make sure every member of Congress, every senator and every senior member of the administration knows that we, the people, expect them to do their job.
And, if they’re not going to do it, then they shouldn’t be paid. Shouldn’t leaders lead by example? Shouldn’t they be willing to fall on the sword?
Here is what needs to happen. The House of Representatives should introduce a bill to change congressional pay regulations so future members of Congress and their highest-paid staff members will face direct financial consequences when they cause a government shutdown.
What has happened to government by the people, for the people? I know it has become self-serving. Please continue to pray for the leaders of our nation.