Enough is enough, it is time to end government shutdown

The government shutdown, which began Dec. 22 and has now become the longest one in U.S. history, is having a devastating effect on the federal workers who are not being paid.

We’ve heard stories of federal workers who have been forced to rely on food banks and food stamps to feed their families and are in danger of losing their homes. And while many blame the president and others fault Congress for the lack of action to fund the government, their plight has not been completely ignored by some members of the legislative body.

At least 80 members of Congress have said they will refuse their paychecks or donate their earnings for the length of the shutdown in solidarity with the unpaid federal employees. Representatives and senators are paid $174,000 per year, with those holding leadership positions being paid more. Among those refusing or donating their paychecks are the six local members of Congress from Ohio and West Virginia.

They are: Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta; Rep. David McKinley, R.W.Va.; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

“If this partial government shutdown lasts through the end of January, I have requested that the Chief Administrator Officer of the House withhold my monthly pay,” said Bill Johnson, our local representative to Congress. Johnson added that he has consistently voted to fund the government and secure the southern border, which he called “an issue of national importance.”

Manchin and Capito have donated their salaries to charity during past shutdowns and Capito’s office indicated she will do so again. Brown’s communications director said he will be forgoing his pay while the shutdown continues.

While it is commendable that these legislators are foregoing their pay in a show of sympathy with the furloughed federal workers, it is imperative that these leaders get back to work soon to hammer out an agreement to refund our federal government. More than 800,000 federal employees are directly impacted by the shutdown, but it’s only a matter of time before the effects of a closed government begin to trickle down to all of us.

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