Wasserman Schultz Blames GOP for Defunding Kids, But Won't Turn Down Salary Over Shutdown
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) blamed Republicans for stripping funds away from Head Start programs and cancer trials before admitting that she'll continue to take her congressional salary.
As of early Wednesday, according to the Washington Post's count, 56 Republicans and 52 Democrats in Congress have either told the clerk to stop their checks or pledged to donate it to charity.
That includes members of Wasserman Schultz's own party such as Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who this year began giving his salary to the Treasury to help pay down the debt. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) already gives 15 percent of his salary to the Treasury and during the shutdown is giving the rest to the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I mean, this is the childishness that is going on. And, as a result, you've got thousands of kids who can't go to their Head Start program today, real children who have cancer who can't participate in -- in medical trials at the National Institutes of Health," she said on MSNBC today.
"Either the whole government opens or the Republicans are gonna have to suffer the consequences of making a decision that is irresponsible and irrational. What they're trying to do with opening it in a piecemeal way is take the most painful sting out of their irresponsible act and the most obvious sting, like -- like that they closed all the national parks, and -- and put the whole shutting down of the government under a cloak, so that hopefully no one will notice. We're just not gonna allow it. It's unacceptable."
Chuck Todd asked if she planned on continuing to receive her paycheck over the shutdown.
"Because I support everybody who works for the federal government getting a salary, I continue to support reopening the government, making sure that everybody who is doing a job in the federal government can earn their salary. And so, that's -- that's my position," Wasserman Schultz responded.
"Are you gonna continue to get -- take your salary?" Todd pressed.
"Yes, I'm gonna continue to take my salary," she confirmed.
"I haven't had any fund-raising events for the Democratic National Committee or for my reelection since the shutdown. But, you know, I -- every member has to make their own -- their own decisions."
She called the Republican National Committee's offer to pay security to keep the World War II Memorial open a "cute little stunt."
"And what Reince Priebus and the entire Republican leadership, elected and unelected, need to do is get their tea party extremist colleagues to stop throwing a tantrum, to stop insisting on not being disrespected, to take the deal and make sure that we can reopen the government and fully implement the Affordable Care Act so everyone in America has access to quality affordable health care," Wasserman Schultz added. "Stop acting like spoiled children."