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Local

Kinzinger refuses salary until funding resumes

Lawmaker: A chance for 'adult conversation'

Most federal employees won’t get paychecks during the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday. Congressmen are among the exceptions.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, who represents Lee County, won’t accept his paycheck until the government is funded again, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, whose district includes Whiteside County, apparently will take her pay.

During a telephone news conference Tuesday, a reporter repeatedly asked Bustos whether she would take her paycheck during the shutdown, but she wouldn’t give a yes-or-no answer.

She kept referring to her support of the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would mean no pay for representatives if Congress fails to enact a budget. But she noted that the Constitution bars any measures from affecting members’ pay during their current terms in office.

The majority House Republicans passed a budget that would delay by a year the individual mandate under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which requires everyone to get health insurance or pay a fine. That law went into effect Tuesday.

Obama and the Democratic Senate have refused to go along. With no agreement by Monday, the government shut down Tuesday, the first day of the fiscal year. 

“[Kinzinger] was never in favor of a government shutdown,” his spokesman, Zach Hunter, said. “Now that we are in this situation, let’s make the best of it and tackle the tough problems.”

Both sides are talking with each other about how they can resolve their disagreements, Hunter said.

“It’s a chance to have an adult conversation,” he said.

In her news conference, Bustos, a freshman lawmaker, urged her colleagues to “drop their political grandstanding.”

“We do have reasonable lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

In July, Bustos joined 21 other Democrats in voting to delay the individual mandate by a year.

Asked whether she could be described as a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Bustos wouldn’t say yes or no.

“It passed before I was out here. The Supreme Court has upheld it,” Bustos said. “I believe in doing [the Affordable Care Act] right, not doing it fast.”

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