If the federal government shuts down next month, should members of Congress still get paid?
That's the question being put to Congress by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minnesota), who thinks lawmakers should show solidarity with hundreds of thousands of government workers who would see their salaries stopped in the event of a shutdown.
He put forward a bill, called the "No Government-No Pay Act of 2015," that would require Congress to continue working full-time, unpaid, until they pass a budget bill that gets the government functioning again.
"It’s time to put an end to government by crisis management. And it’s time for Congress to start living in the real world – where you either do your job – or you don’t get paid," he said in a press release.
Nolan put forward the same legislation before the shutdown in 2013 that lasted 15 days, but it didn't pass – and it looks likely that'll be the case again.
According to GovTrack, the chances are slim that Congress members will vote to suspend their own salaries, with Nolan's bill being given a 4 percent chance of making it out of committee, and a 1 percent chance of being passed.
Nonetheless, Nolan's bill has caught the imagination of the wider public,
">with his bill trending on Facebook Monday after one of his posts was shared more than 14,000 times. The overwhelming majority of commenters backed the Minnesota politician.
Eight days to avoid shutdown
None of the 12 appropriation bills to fund federal agencies have been passed at this point, with Democrats and Republicans in Congress disagreeing over funding levels.
The Associated Press reports that because of this, a stop-gap funding bill needs to be passed by Sept. 30 to ensure these agencies can keep functioning beyond Oct. 1 – the start of the new federal fiscal year.
But the passage of this stop-gap measure is being held up, with the main bone of contention being the $500 million of funding given to Planned Parenthood. Republicans in Congress want it scrapped amid debate over the use of aborted fetal tissue for medical research.
NPR reports one of the most significant outcomes of the 2013 shutdown was that it led to the temporary closure of the Department of the Interior, which provoked "public outrage" as it meant the closure of National Parks – ruining family vacations, weddings, and costing the government $414 million in lost revenue.