By Brooke Singman
Published January 15, 2019
President Trump clashed anew with Nancy Pelosi over the partial government shutdown on Tuesday, questioning whether the House speaker should continue getting paid while the standoff drags on -- as Pelosi accused the president of holding the paychecks of hundreds of thousands of federal workers “hostage.”
“Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, as he presses Pelosi and her colleagues to fund construction of a wall along the southern border.
Minutes later, Pelosi fired back.
“@realDonaldTrump, stop holding the paychecks of 800,000 Americans hostage. There is no reason for them to suffering right now. Re-open the government! #TrumpShutdown,” Pelosi tweeted in response.
Trump has not made any specific announcement about donating or forgoing his own presidential salary during the shutdown, but in the past, the president has donated his full presidential salary anyway. The most recent donation went to the Small Business Association.
A spokesman for Pelsoi did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on whether the House speaker would donate or forgo her salary during the shutdown.
According to Fox Business Network, more than 58 House lawmakers and 13 senators have either refused their pay of $174,000 annually, asked for it to be held, or announced they plan to donate it.
Freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas; Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, among others have opted to forego their paychecks.
Trump and congressional Democrats, like Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have been at odds for four weeks over a spending package to fund the government. Trump requested $5.7 billion for border security and construction of a concrete wall or steel barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, while Democrats have vowed to block any such funding.
The shutdown, which began Dec. 22, has left more than 800,000 federal workers and contractors working without pay, or simply staying home. Last Friday marked the first missed paycheck for those workers, forcing some to apply for unemployment benefits.
“[Trump] thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money,” Pelosi said last week after a contentious meeting at the White House. “But they can’t.” Trump walked out of that meeting after Pelosi flatly refused to consider any spending bill that included wall funding.
Trump has said that “most of the people not getting paid are Democrats,” but also empathized with federal workers who have gone without pay.
“I can relate,” Trump said last week. “And I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. And they’ll make adjustments. People understand exactly what’s going on. Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
But a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 63 percent of voters agree with the Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security, with 30 percent opposed. The same poll founded 63 percent also oppose using the shutdown to force wall funding, with just 32 percent supporting.
The poll found that 56 percent of American voters blame Trump and Republicans in Congress for the partial shutdown, compared with 36 percent who say Democrats are responsible.