With both sides digging in their heels and no immediate end in sight, the government shutdown has begun to take a tangible toll on an estimated 800,000 federal employees who are now having to make ends meet without their regular paychecks.
But despite being one of the richest members of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has continued to collect her paychecks on the $223,500 annual salary she receives by virtue of her position, even as many fellow legislators are forgoing theirs until the crisis is resolved.
It is no secret that Nancy Pelosi’s personal wealth is considerable, with some estimates putting it in the neighborhood of $30 million.
She and her husband Paul have amassed substantial holdings, including several commercial and residential properties as well as a lucrative Napa Valley vineyard.
And while Pelosi’s personal fortune is certainly enviable, its existence does beg the question of why she would not follow the lead of many of her colleagues in Congress and either decline or donate her official salary until the shutdown ends and furloughed federal workers receive theirs.
The irony of the situation was not lost on President Donald Trump, who took Pelosi to task on Twitter, asking:
Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2019
In light of her status as leader of the self-styled champions of the working class, Pelosi’s failure to publicly disclaim her entitlement to a government check stands in stark contrast to the actions of roughly 70 other lawmakers representing both sides of the aisle.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was willing to temporarily forfeit payments on his $174,000 annual salary, asserting that he could not “in good conscience” continue to be paid while the financial futures of so many federal workers were in jeopardy.
I cannot in good conscience get paid while federal employees’ financial futures hang in the balance because of this partial government shutdown. I’ve asked the Chief Administrative Officer to withhold my pay until we have come to an agreement to adequately fund border security. pic.twitter.com/2g37vAAtx2
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) January 10, 2019
Crenshaw is not alone in these sentiments, with Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Sen. Maizie Hirono (D-HI) joining him in skipping paychecks for the time being.
The tone-deafness many Democrats have displayed during the shutdown has not gone unnoticed, with recent reports detailing the lavish trips and entertainment enjoyed by party luminaries — Pelosi included.
Back in late December, the Speaker justifiably received significant blowback for her decision to jet off to the luxurious Fairmont Orchid Resort in Kona, Hawaii rather than remain in Washington and negotiate to end the shutdown.
More recently, the judgment and timing of Democrat party leaders was again called into question when numerous high-profile legislators were seen partying and mingling with lobbyists on the beach in Puerto Rico.
The trip was said to include fancy cocktail soirees, luxury lodgings and a special performance of Broadway smash hit Hamilton.
The outward displays of ostentation made by too many Democrats, together with their speaker’s unwillingness to stand in symbolic solidarity with beleaguered federal employees, are the height of hypocrisy — but sadly, they’re also nothing new.