Salt Lake City, UT – From the beginning of the current Federal Government shutdown, Representative John Curtis has said that Congress should take some of the blame and has requested that his pay be deferred in solidarity with federal employees who are not receiving pay. With the shutdown now in its third week and some of the most vulnerable Utahns at risk of going hungry due to federal programs running out of money, Alliance for a Better Utah called out Curtis for empty gestures following his vote last week against opening the government.
“Representative Curtis, with a net worth of over $5M, can afford to have his pay deferred,” said Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah. “Over 6% of families in the third district live below the poverty level. Thousands of Utahns who work for the federal government have been sent home or forced to work without pay. While Curtis enjoys the limelight for his symbolic gesture — a gesture that likely creates no more than a mild inconvenience for him — families in his district are facing the looming prospect of hunger and overdue bills.”
Federal employees will miss their first paycheck as a result of the shutdown if it continues past Tuesday. If the shutdown continues past January, Utahns who get their food through programs like WIC, SNAP, and National School Lunch Program could face challenges. Curtis ran as a moderate who appealed to both sides of the aisle during the special election in 2017 and again in 2018, and was well-liked as the Provo mayor who could get things done.
“Third district voters sent Curtis to Washington as their advocate, and he failed them by voting against opening the government. In no way, shape, or form will Curtis’ deferment of his pay reopen the government, feed hungry families, or pay the mortgage bill. If Curtis wanted to make a gesture of goodwill to his constituents, he should have voted to fund the government.”