Pa. auditor general says it's 'outrageous' that Congress is taking paychecks during shutdown

Steve Tawa
December 26, 2018 - 4:17 pm
Eugene DePasquale

Tony Romeo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The partial federal government shutdown is costing hundreds of thousands of workers distress. Pennsylvania's auditor general wants members of Congress to feel the pain, adding, "congressional paychecks should be stopped immediately during the shutdown."

This is the third partial shutdown since President Donald Trump was sworn in nearly two years ago. The latest, which began Friday night, happened when Senate Democrats refused to put up more than $5 billion for Trump’s wall on the Southern border, leaving about 800,000 federal employees furloughed or forced to work without pay until the standoff is resolved.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said it's unfair that Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines, yet have their salaries exempt from that decision.

READ: No end in sight to partial government shutdown 

"You have political games started by President Trump. It's outrageous that Congress is collecting their paychecks, and federal workers aren't," he said. 

DePasquale added that it's "shameful that President Trump caved to ultra-conservative pressure by holding American taxpayers hostage to foot the bill for a wall he promised would be paid for by Mexico."

"Then you have the Freedom Caucus and some of these hard line conservatives that are demanding, out of nowhere, money for this wall. Look, if they want to negotiate something, it should be in a comprehensive immigration package,' he said. 

He also points out tourist attractions, such as the Liberty Bell, are being affected by the shutdown, leaving families with kids off school for Christmas break out of luck.