For Immediate Release: For More Information Contact:

Tuesday, November 14, 1995 Ralph Nader (202) 296-2787

Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787

Nader Says President Clinton, VP Gore, and Members of Congress Should Take Unpaid Furlough But Continue Working During Government Shutdown

Ralph Nader urged President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole to place themselves, and all Members of Congress on furlough. Nader said that "It is wrong for them to continue to draw their ample salaries while other federal workers are placed on unpaid furlough."

Most members of Congress earn an annual salary of $133,600 per year, but top leadership earns more. Speaker Gingrich earns $171,500 per year, as does Vice-President Gore. Majority Leader Dole earns $148,400. President Clinton earns $200,000.

"In this government shutdown, our top government officials should not exempt themselves from a furlough," Nader said. "President Clinton and the Congress should lead by example, and not be led by their own wallets. They can continue to keep working without pay as testimony to their patriotism."

"This failure to give themselves an unpaid furlough but continue working is one more example of how our top leaders in Washington lack the humility necessary to govern by moral authority," Nader said. "We citizens must put an end to this culture of arrogance so pervasive in Washington."

Under an April 1980 opinion prepared by then-Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti, only "essential" federal employees continue to work during a "funding gap." Members of Congress are paid under a permanent appropriation, and are not affected by this policy. The Constitution forbids reduction of the President's salary while in office.