With hope fading for a quick end to the government shutdown, members of Florida’s congressional delegation spent much of Tuesday preparing for the long haul — while also taking time to blame the other side for the first federal shutdown in 17 years.
Two lawmakers — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge — used the first day of the shutdown to immediately furlough many of their own staffers. About half of Posey’s 17-member staff will be working during the shutdown; even fewer are working for Rubio.
“We normally have about 57 full-time employees including both our [Washington] DC and in-state offices. The Orlando and [Washington] DC offices are still open, but running with a skeleton crew of only seven total employees who were not furloughed,” said Alex Conant, a Rubio spokesman.
That’s not the case for everyone.
An aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, said everyone on his staff was working Tuesday — though that could change depending on the length of the shutdown.
Meanwhile, U.S. Reps. John Mica, R-Winter Park, Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, do not plan to furlough any staff members.
“I have deemed them all essential,” Mica said.
But in a show of solidarity with his staff — who won’t get paid during the impasse — Mica said he has asked that his own $174,000 annual salary be withheld until the shutdown is finished. Posey went one step further and said that wouldn’t take a salary at all during the shutdown and instead would send that pay back to the U.S. Treasury each day that Congress and the White Housedidn’t reach an agreement.
Click here for the story in the Orlando Sentinel.