One of the major ironies and consternations of the ongoing federal government shutdown, which began October 1, is that the U.S. Congress and the President of the United States are still collecting their full salaries, even while 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed and large swaths of the federal government have gone dark.
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a Cherokee Nation citizen and tea party favorite, is one of the few members of Congress who are forgoing their salaries during the shutdown.
Mullin said he would rather give his paycheck back to the U.S. Treasury in order to keep his office fully staffed while the government is shuttered.
“As a business owner, you are always the last to get paid,” Mullin said in a press release. “All of my team members will be deemed essential and continue working in order to respond to the numerous calls we are receiving from our constituents.”
Mullin said he would give up his $174,000 per year salary until the government reopens.
In public opinion polls, Republicans House members, especially tea party enthusiasts like Mullin, are widely being blamed for the government shutdown for their failed attempt to tie defunding and delaying Obamacare to passage of a continuing resolution budget. The Democratic Senate and White House will not agree to negotiate on Obamacare.
At a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs on September 19 Mullin reiterated his tribal roots and talked about his support for tribal gaming.
“I’m typically pretty passionate when I get up here to discuss Indian country because of how close to it I come,” Mullin said, adding that he tends to disagree with Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn “quite a bit.” He said he has been monitoring Washburn’s decisions related to Indian gaming.