Idaho delegation furloughs workers, closes some offices

Sens. Crapo and Risch will donate pay earned during the shutdown.

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comOctober 2, 2013 

Idaho’s all-GOP congressional delegation scaled back constituent services Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Crapo is keeping offices in Washington, D.C., and Boise open, but shuttered offices in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello and Twin Falls for the week.

All members of Crapo’s staff will be subject to rotating furloughs, with each employee taking at least one unpaid furlough day this week.

“Consequently, those who contact the Senator’s offices should expect delays in a response due to reduced staffing,” reads a statement from Crapo’s office.

All of Sen. Jim Risch’s offices are open, in Washington, D.C., Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello and Twin Falls. Because of the skeleton crew, however, staffers are handling phone calls and meetings as time permits.

Eleven full-time and one half-time Risch staffers are working during the shutdown, while 18 are furloughed, said Risch spokeswoman Suzanne Bottorff.

Rep. Mike Simpson has closed his offices in Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. His Washington, D.C., and Boise offices are open. Six Simpson employees are at work, 11 have been furloughed.

Simpson spokeswoman Nikki Watts said Simpson “wants to be treated the same as all federal employees” and will ask that his pay be withheld during the shutdown.

After it ends, Simpson will get back pay, Watts said.

Rep. Raul Labrador's spokesman, Todd Winer, said Labrador has asked that his pay be withheld. But Winer did not respond to an email asking whether Labrador plans to collect back pay.

Because their jobs are authorized by the U.S. Constitution, members of Congress must be paid by law. As of late Tuesday, about 50 members of Congress had said they would donate to charity or refuse pay, according to the Washington Post.

As for Labrador's staff, Winer said, “The few senior staff are working full-time. The rest are working on a rotating schedule. In accordance with the law, employees who are working full-time will not be paid until the government shutdown is over.

Employees who are on a rotating schedule will not be paid for the days they do not work and they will not receive pay for the days they do work until the shutdown is over.”

Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics

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