Dozens of House members vow to turn down paychecks during the government shutdown

Rep. Chris Collins announced Wednesday he formally asked his paychecks be withheld during the partial government shutdown. Collins, a Republican representing the 27th Congressional District, is one of more than 60 members of Congress saying they will reject pay as long as the shutdown continues.

The list reported Wednesday by CNN is comprised of 13 senators and 51 representatives from both parties. Collins’ district includes the wester part of Ontario County (including Canandaigua, Farmington and Victor), with the other part of the county in the 23rd district represented by Republican Tom Reed.

Reed wouldn’t say on Tuesday if he would go without pay when asked in a conference call with reporters.

“We will take care of it in a private way,” said Reed, adding he thinks the move by many is public relations. 

Collins, along with several other lawmakers, also announced they were pushing legislation related to the shutdown that was in day 19 on Wednesday. Collins co-sponsored a bill that would direct funds to cover the salaries and expenses of officers or employees of the federal government working during the partial government shutdown beginning on or about Dec. 22, 2018.

Blaming the shutdown on Democrats, Collins blasted House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, claiming they are using “hardworking Americans as pawns as they stonewall efforts to secure the border and reopen our government. Protecting American citizens should be a top priority, and it is my hope that Congress and President Trump can work together to find a bipartisan solution that effectively secures our borders and reopens the federal government in a timely manner.”

Collins was narrowly re-elected in November to a fourth term after being indicted Aug. 8, 2018 on insider trading charges and lying to the FBI. Collins pleaded not guilty. The congressman is out on $500,000 bail, with a trial set for Feb. 3, 2020.