Amid the partisan blame game that erupted after midnight Friday when the government shut down, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Jacky Rosen ended up on the same side of one issue: Neither wants federal lawmakers to be paid if they fail to fund the government.
Leading up to the midnight deadline, Rosen—who is challenging Heller for his Senate seat in what is expected one of the most competitive races in 2018—came out in support of a measure that would prevent members of Congress from being paid for the time the government is shut down.
“If Congressional leaders refuse to do their job and fail to work across the aisle, then lawmakers should either donate their paycheck or return it Treasury until the government is back up and running,” Rosen said in a release announcing her support for the bill, which currently has nine co-sponsors, including three Republicans.
Rosen also said that she plans to donate her pay during the shut down to La Alianza Comunitaria Transnacional, an organization that helps young undocumented immigrants apply for DACA.
The move spurred Heller to highlight the fact that he introduced a bill a year ago that would require members of Congress to approve a spending blueprint, known as a budget resolution, and all 12 appropriations bills before the Sept. 30-end of the federal fiscal year in order to receive their paycheck. His bill, known as “No Budget No Pay,” also has nine co-sponsors, including two Democrats.
“I’ve always said that Washington is a pain-free zone that faces no consequences if members fail to do their jobs,” Heller said on the Senate floor Saturday. “So maybe it’s time to start facing some pain around here.”
Heller initially introduced the bill in 2015. His dedication to the measure could put him in an awkward position with Senate GOP leaders, who may skip drafting and passing a budget plan this year. One reason to put off the budget resolution process in the Senate is that it culminates with an hours-long voting session, which often opens vulnerable members to politically difficult votes.
Despite agreeing that Congress should go without its salary during a shutdown, Heller and Rosen both took to Twitter to blame the other.
Rosen highlighted a quote from an NBC News interview Heller gave in August when he disagreed with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s threat to shutdown the government to secure money to build a wall on the Mexican border. “There will be no excuses and nobody else’s fault but the Republican Party if this government does shut down.”
Heller shot back that Rosen voted against a GOP plan to keep the government funded through Feb. 16, which also included a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers nearly 69,000 kids in Nevada, for six years. The bill also suspended the so-called Cadillac tax, which taxes the most expensive employer-sponsored health insurance plans and has long been opposed by the Culinary union, which represents more than 50,000 casino employees.
“I voted to fund our military, to extend CHIP for 6 years, to stop the Cadillac Tax, and to keep the government open,” Heller tweeted. “Irresponsible democrats like @RosenforNevada chose hatred for @POTUS over doing what is right for the country and our state.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto said she, too, would donate her salary during the shutdown to a Nevada charity.
“I will not go home and will not take a salary for as long as my constituents are being impacted by President Trump’s irresponsible choice to shut down the government,” she said in a release. “It is time to work together on a bipartisan compromise that puts Dreamers on a pathway to citizenship and ensures the long-term health, economic and security needs of all Nevadans.”