Florida Rep Matt Gaetz asked for his pay to be withheld if a government shutdown occurs at the end of the month — in an effort to seemingly make the public forget that he is spearheading the opposition to measures that would prevent such an outcome.
Mr Gaetz wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer, which he broadcasted on X. He wrote, “It is my understanding that pursuant to the Constitution, members of Congress will continue to receive their pay during a lapse in appropriations.”
The Florida Republican continued, “Therefore, I am requesting that in the case of a lapse of appropriations beginning at 12:00 a.m. on October 1, 2023, my pay be withheld until legislation has taken effect to end such lapse in appropriations in its entirety.”
Despite his sacrificial signaling, Mr Gaetz is one of a host of House Republicans who has vocally opposed any short-term measures to avoid a shutdown.
He recently said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures: “If the Department of Labor and Education have to shut down for a few days as we get these appropriations in line, that is certainly something that is not optimal, but I think it is better than continuing on the current path we are to America’s financial ruin.”
“I’m not pro-shutdown,” Mr Gaetz added, and instead expressed wanting to pass “separate single-subject spending bills.”
“So I’m not here to hold the government hostage,” he said. “I’m here to hold Kevin McCarthy to his word.”
In the event of a government shutdown on October 1st, I have asked the Chief Administrative Officer of the House to withhold my pay until legislation has taken effect to end the lapse in appropriations. https://t.co/vgnQfEeaR2 https://t.co/c5YyAcS0BG pic.twitter.com/MqwMSn4XHf
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 26, 2023
McCarthy needs votes from Mr Gaetz and his other Republican detractors to avoid a shutdown.
Mr Gaetz said last week, according to the New York Times, that he had seven members who would oppose plans to advance a stopgap measure: “They’re immovable.”
The House GOP is now facing heat from President Joe Biden, who posted a video on X, saying: “We could be facing a government shutdown if Republicans in the House don’t do their job. And there’s no reason for us to be in this position.”
The president added that there is a “small group of extreme House Republicans” who are “determined to shut down the government.”
He continued, “House Republicans refuse to stand up to the extremists in their party — and everyone in America could be forced to pay the price.”
Despite opposition to short-term funding bills, Mr McCarthy said on Tuesday that he planned to bring a continuing resolution to the floor “probably on Friday.”
The Senate introduced its own version of a short-term spending measure on Tuesday, which the House Speaker criticised for including aid to Ukraine. “They’re picking Ukraine over Americans,” he said.
Still, the 30 September deadline looms.