Braun bill would withhold congressional pay during government shutdowns

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Freshman U.S. Sen. Mike Braun from Indiana expressed optimism Tuesday that the current government shutdown will be resolved in a “matter of weeks, not months.”

Braun spent 15 months campaigning for federal office only to find the federal government closed when it was time to go to work.

“I'm uncomfortable with it that it had to happen in the first place. We're going to get through it. I just don't know when,” Braun said during an interview at the WNDU Studios. “[Democrats are] certainly not going to do anything on their end until they have to squirm a little more to get the government back open.”

Braun pledged to come back to Indiana every chance he got and, given the shutdown, Tuesday provided one of those opportunities.

Braun toured the Granger Community Church and met with the chambers of commerce in South Bend and Elkhart.

His first legislative priority back in Washington will be to try and make sure the next government shutdown would be dramatically different than the current one by sponsoring a bill called “No Budget, No Pay.”

“So, simply, if you do not by Sept. 30 have a budget in place, nobody gets a paycheck. At least you're not getting fired, you're just not getting paid. In the real world, you'd be without a job, because your board of directors would fire you or your business would be out of business,” Braun reasoned.

He also spoke of a need for more members of Congress with business backgrounds, saying there are now just three or four in the entire U.S. Senate.

“Until more people step out of that comfort zone I talked about earlier, expect more of the same. I’m hoping in 2020, on either side, that you get people that have not been in the farm system of politics that might bring some fresh ideas how to change a broken system,” he said.

Braun also expressed frustration in that he was not allowed to opt out of a congressional pension. Braun said he would like to see a bill passed that would allow that to happen.