If the government ends up partially shutting down again, one conservative congressman has a message for his colleagues on the Hill: Either stay in D.C. to finish the job or pay for your own plane tickets.
Last week, House Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck, R-Colo., introduced H.R. 793, a bill that would prohibit members of Congress from using their travel budgets to leave Washington in the event of a government shutdown.
“Over the last several weeks, we witnessed the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history,” Buck said in a statement released Monday night. “If this happens again and Members fail to reach an agreement in the future, they should be expected to stay in Washington, D.C. until a compromise is reached and the government shutdown is over.”
Members of Congress can use government funds to pay for travel to and from Washington through their Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA), which also covers other official expenses like staff and office supplies.
Under the proposal, members could still skip town during a shutdown, but they wouldn’t be able to use their travel budgets to do it until things are up and running again. “If Members choose to go on with usual business or take vacation while hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer due to dysfunction here in Washington, they should have to pay out of pocket for their trip,” the statement continues.
Being forced to stay in the Swamp until they come up with a solution might or might not be a catalyst for reaching an agreement any sooner, but the optics are undoubtedly better than seeing taxpayer money used to leave for the weekend while the job remains undone.