At least 20 of the 36 Texas members of the U.S. House have confirmed that they are withholding their $174,000 annual salary for the duration of the nation’s longest partial government shutdown. Federal employees will go through their second pay period on Friday without a paycheck. The remaining sixteen members of the House did not say that they were continuing to take pay; they simply have not yet responded to our queries. Sixteen of the House members from Texas who are withholding or donating their pay are Republicans. Ten of the sixteen members who did not respond are Democrats. Neither of the two U.S. senators responded about their intentions.
“During this partial shutdown, I have requested that my pay be withheld,” tweeted Congressman Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land. “Federal employees should not be held hostage to dysfunction and inability to solve the problem. Congress and the president must work together to find a solution immediately.”
During this partial government shutdown, I have requested that my pay be withheld. Federal employees should not be held hostage to dysfunction & inability to solve the problem. Congress & the president must work together to find a solution immediately. pic.twitter.com/r0R8G3SDZN
— Rep. Pete Olson (@RepPeteOlson) January 2, 2019
“I chose to withhold my pay because I stand with the 800,000 federal employees across the country who missed their first paychecks due to President Trump’s blatant refusal to reopen the federal government,” said Representative Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo. “It’s simple: If they’re not going to get paid, I’m not going to get paid until the government shutdown is over.”
The shutdown, which enters its sixth week on Friday, is the longest in U.S. history and the third of President Trump’s administration. Despite some 800,000 federal employees missing their second paycheck on Friday, an end to the shutdown seems a distant prospect as congressional Democrats and the White House remain in a stalemate on the issue of providing $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected two versions of a bill—one Republican, one Democratic—that would have ended the shutdown. And late Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that he would postpone his State of the Union address until the government shutdown ends, the latest in a high-stakes tit-for-tat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who decided not to make the chamber she controls available for the president.
As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2019
The White House and members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, are all trying to win the public relations battle in a political stalemate that is beginning to show signs of impact that extends beyond federal employees. Roughly 35,000 of the government workers affected live in Texas, including Border Patrol officers, NASA employees, TSA officials, and park rangers. Many of these federal employees are continuing to work without pay to keep essential institutions such as airports and courthouses running. However, certain public services, such as visitor programming at National Parks and FDA inspections of “low risk” foods, have had to be paused due to lack of funding.
In response, many local businesses, charities, and institutions are offering free goods and services to furloughed government workers. And some local governments are allowing federal workers to delay payments on city owned utilities. This includes metro services, museums, and numerous restaurants throughout the state.
While a majority of delegates from both sides of the aisle are forgoing their salaries, some have decided to donate their pay to various foundations. Congressman Bill Flores, R-Bryan, plans to donate his salary to the Fisher House Foundation, while Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, said he plans to donate his to the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.
Congressman Will Hurd, R-Helotes, pledged to withhold his salary from the day the shutdown began with an announcement on Facebook stating, “There’s no good reason why Members of #Congress should continue to receive pay during a needless government #shutdown while other federal employees suffer.”
Rep. Hurd, the only Republican representing a district along the border, has advocated for an immediate end to the shutdown, saying leaders shouldn’t “be negotiating on the backs of almost a million workers who are trying to do the right thing for the country.” Last week, Hurd led representatives in supporting a bill guaranteeing back pay for all affected federal employees. The bill was signed by President Trump last Wednesday.
Below is a roundup of the Texas delegation to Congress and their payment status:
|1||Louie Gohmert||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|7||Lizzie Fletcher||Democrat||Did not respond||No|
|8||Kevin Brady||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|9||Al Green||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|10||Michael T. McCaul||Republican||Withholding||Yes|
|11||Michael K. Conaway||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|13||Mac Thornberry||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|14||Randy Weber||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|15||Vicente Gonzalez||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|16||Veronica Escobar||Democrat||Did not respond||No|
|18||Sheila Jackson Lee||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|20||Joaquin Castro||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|26||Michael Burgess||Republican||Did not respond||Yes|
|29||Sylvia Garcia||Democrat||Did not respond||No|
|30||Eddie Bernice Johnson||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|33||Marc Veasey||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|
|34||Filemon Vela||Democrat||Did not respond||Yes|