Informer: Shutdown would not affect US lawmakers’ pay

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

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.

Online: www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34680.pdf.

Parish: Past projects offset concerns

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.”

Online: www.cppj.net.

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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 informer@americanpress.com