WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is cosponsoring legislation that would keep members of Congress from being paid in the event of a government shutdown.
Stabenow, a Democrat, said with a potential shutdown looming, it's not fair that U.S. senators and representatives would continue to be paid while many others federal government workers would not.
"It's very important that members of Congress be held accountable," she said.
Stabenow has signed onto the bill which is being offered by Barbara Boxer of California, but in recent days, majority Democrats in the Senate and majority Republican in the House have reportedly moved closer to a deal that could -- for two weeks at least -- forestall a government shutdown.
No budget for the current fiscal year has been passed as yet, and since last October, the government has operated under what's called a continuing resolution that continues to fund government at last year's levels. The most recent continuing resolution or "C.R." expires Friday.
A shutdown had been widely predicted but it appeared a two-week extension might be in the offing with House Republicans suggesting some $4 billion in cuts over that time. Many of those cuts had already been incorporated into President Barack Obama's plans for the next fiscal year, meaning Democrats might have a hard time balking at them.
But it still means a shutdown could be waiting government by mid-March. If that happens, personnel deemed non-essential would be sent home, national parks would likely close and processing of new federal benefits and forms -- think new Social Security benefits, passport applications and more -- are likely to be slowed or stopped altogether.
A 21-day shutdown in 1995-95 was the longest in history.
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