Last Modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:23 AM
If Congress shuts down the government, does that mean they and their staffs won’t be getting paid either?
Unless they choose otherwise, lawmakers — their pay permanently accounted for, their duty set by the Constitution — would be unaffected by any furloughs prompted by a shutdown, which would result if Congress were to fail to pass the necessary funding legislation.
But their staff members, whether they’re furloughed or not, would go unpaid for as long as money for salaries goes unappropriated, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
“Any decision regarding requirements that a congressional employee continue to work during a government shutdown would appear to fall to his or her employing authority,” reads the report, titled “Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects.”
“Activities of legislative branch agencies would likely also be restricted, in consultation with Congress, to activities required to support Congress with its constitutional responsibilities or those necessary to protect life and property.”
When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Committee on House Administration directed House members to plan to furlough all staff members who weren’t deemed “essential” — a term it defined as having to do with said constitutional responsibilities and the protection of life and property.
“If an office does not submit a furlough authorization form, none of their employees will be furloughed,” reads a letter sent by then-Chairman Dan Lungren. “All of these employees must be essential.”
At the time, some lawmakers declared their entire staffs essential and pledged to keep them on the job, and some members of Congress promised that, come a shutdown, they would accept no pay for themselves.
There were two lots on either side of the south end of Bonne Meadow, off of Gauthier, that have been vacant for 20-plus years and served as the flood plains for the neighborhood. Whenever we would have a hard rain or a few days of showers those lots would fill with water because the drainage ditches were full along the road and Gauthier.
Now three pads on each side of the road are being raised 4 to 5 feet for the construction of housing. What is the drainage plan now? The culverts that were put into place seem too high and would probably not drain stormwater toward Gauthier but cause the water to back up into other lots and streets.
Allen Wainwright, Calcasieu Parish public works director, offered the following reply by email:
“Since the time of the initial development of this residential area, drainage lateral improvements south of Gauthier Road by Gravity Drainage District 4 of Ward 3, along with roadside ditch improvements by the parish included in the Gauthier Road widening project, have been completed that offset the drainage concerns along Gauthier Road as described in the question.”
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org