Daines, Gianforte among lawmakers willing to forfeit salary during shutdown

The Republican members of Montana’s congressional delegation requested to have their salary withheld until the government shutdown ends, saying it was wrong for them to take home pay when others will not.

Sen. Steve Daines said he also has asked acting Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt to secure the funding needed to offer critical services at national parks during the shutdown.

Daines said Sunday the request was granted, adding that provisions in federal law offer exceptions to fund critical services during a lapse in federal appropriations.

“While guided tours and public access continue in our national parks, other visitor services like bathroom sanitation and trash collection have halted,” Daines said. “I’m glad to see the Department of Interior will fund these critical programs while the government is shut down, supporting those in Montana’s gateway communities and protecting our national parks.”

Daines also joined Rep. Greg Gianforte in requesting that his salary be withheld during the government shutdown.

“I believe all sides need to come together to enhance border security and reopen the government,” he said. “Until that occurs and Border Patrol agents and other federal personnel again receive their paychecks, I think it would be inappropriate for me to receive my pay.”

Roughly 800,000 federal employees could see payday pass without a check on Friday if the shutdown persists. Several lawmakers from both parties have offered to forgo their own pay until Congress ends the shutdown by resolving issues around border security.

Gianforte offered similar sentiments over the weekend as the shutdown entered its second week.

“I strongly believe it is inappropriate for members of Congress to be paid while portions of the federal government remain shut down,” he wrote. “I ask that you please withhold my salary for as long as the shutdown lasts and until the agents who protect our borders and other federal employees are paid.”