Walters: Welch Refuses Pay During Shutdown | Off Message

Walters: Welch Refuses Pay During Shutdown


  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Rep. Peter Welch
Updated at 7:38 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) says he will not accept his congressional salary until the partial federal government shutdown is over.

"I'm suspending my own pay until all our federal workers get paid," Welch said in a Friday interview. "It's an unfair burden that we are imposing on them." He said there are 686 federal workers in Vermont who are continuing to work without pay.

The 14-day shutdown was triggered by President Donald Trump's insistence on $5.6 billion in new funding for border security. So far, he has rejected all compromises.

On Thursday, the newly Democratic House passed legislation that would extend current funding levels and reopen the government; Welch supported it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will not allow a vote on the bill, and Trump has signaled he would veto it.

Welch is putting his pay into an escrow account. He will receive it when the shutdown ends. In the meantime, he is unlikely to feel any pinch; his federal financial disclosure reveals a net worth in the millions of dollars.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is not joining Welch in forgoing his salary, according to spokesman David Carle.

"No one’s working and fighting harder to end the Trump shutdown than he is," Carle said of Leahy, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Once the shutdown ends, he believes it must be a high priority, and in fact an obligation, to re-compensate the workers who have been caught up in this senseless shutdown."

A spokesman for the third member of Vermont's congressional delegation, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), did not respond to a request for comment.