PLATTSMOUTH – Memo to Washington lawmakers: Do your job or forfeit your pay.
That’s the message made by the Cass County Republican Party.
At issue, according to the party, is the failure of passing a federal operating budget, which has been the case for many years now.
“If you have a budget, there’s no reason to have a shutdown,” said Dean Helmick, former chairman of the county party.
To keep the government running over the past few years, lawmakers have passed “continuing resolutions,” Helmick said.
That’s bad behavior in his opinion.
“How can we ever balance a budget if we don’t have one?” he said.
At a recent meeting, party members passed a resolution calling on the Nebraska Congressional delegation, all Republicans, to “draft, sponsor, and ensure” passage of legislation requiring all elected and appointed members of the Executive and Legislative branches to forfeit 100 percent of pay and allowances during any year in which all appropriations bills are not approved by the first day of the federal fiscal year, Oct. 1.
What’s more, legislation must require that all pay and allowances for all Congressional and White House staffers be forfeited and not reimbursed, the resolution stated. According to Helmick, salaries for staffers are generally not affected by shutdowns or furloughs.
Failure to complete the budget process at the fiscal starting date has subsequently shut down the government 21 times since 1976, Helmick said.
To his knowledge, Helmick said the county Republicans are the first political party in any Nebraska county to pass such a resolution and he hopes this might encourage other counties to do the same.
Copies of the resolution have been sent to U.S. senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, and U.S. House members Jeff Fortenberry, Don Bacon and Adrian Smith. Copies have also been sent to party officials at the state level, as well as State Sen. Rob Clements, Helmick said.
“Do your job or forfeit your pay,” he said.