The federal government is set to run out of money on Friday at midnight and will shut down if Congress does not pass funding bills by the deadline.
Yet instead of passing legislation to avert a shutdown, which could negatively impact the economy, Republicans in Congress spent their time last week trying to either eliminate or reduce the salaries of top Biden administration officials.
On Tuesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) successfully passed an amendment to reduce Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s salary to $1.
On Wednesday, House Republicans tried to eliminate Vice President Kamala Harris’ salary, as well as the salaries of anyone who works in her office. On Thursday, House Republicans tried to slash the salaries of Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to $1.
Aside from Buttigieg, the attempts — which were offered as amendments to appropriations bills that needed to pass in order to fund the government — failed.
But hundreds of House Republicans voted for these measures.
In the House, 165 Republicans voted to reduce Jean-Pierre’s salary to $1. Another 175 voted to cut Gensler’s salary to $1. And 106 House Republicans voted to cut all funding to the Office of the Vice President.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) criticized Republicans’ efforts to reduce administration officials’ salaries as “nonserious.”
“I hope that we would not continue to defame and demote — maybe my hope is misplaced — as we reduce Federal employees one after another over and over to $1 in salary because we don’t like what they do and don’t like the policies they pursue for the administration,” Hoyer said Nov. 8 on the House floor.
With less than a week to go before the government shuts down, none of the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government have passed both chambers of Congress, according to the Congressional Research Service.
In order to avert a shutdown, House Speaker Mike Johnson has said the House will vote on a series of short-term continuing resolutions that fund the government at the same levels as the previous fiscal year.
However, that plan is already facing backlash from House Republicans — who ousted now-former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for passing a similar short-term funding bill to avert a shutdown back in September.
Johnson will likely need Democratic votes in order to pass these short-term spending bills, as Republicans are already announcing they won’t vote for Johnson’s proposal and he can afford to lose just three GOP votes.
But it’s unclear what Democrats will do.
Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Saturday that Johnson’s proposal “is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns — full stop.”