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U.S. Rep. Max Miller criticizes fellow Republicans pushing government shutdown

Republican congressional candidate Max Miller in a white shirt and red tie with hands outstretched, speaks at a rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
Joe Maiorana
U.S. Rep. Max Miller, seen here on the campaign trail in Delaware, Ohio in 2022, said he wants members of Congress to be held accountable for a government shutdown.

U.S. Rep. Max Miller thinks a government shutdown is inevitable. Still, the freshman Republican from Rocky River, representing Ohio's 7th Congressional District, said he's doing everything he can to avoid a shutdown.

That includes introducing legislation to stop members of Congress from getting paid if a shutdown happens. The legislation is called the “No Work, No Play Act of 2023.”

“I want to hold members of Congress accountable,” Miller said. “Members of Congress should not be politicking, they should not be raising money, they should be stuck in D.C. doing their jobs.”

The legislation would:

  • Stop members of Congress from being paid during a government shutdown;
  • Prohibit members of Congress from soliciting donations for federal election campaign accounts during a government shutdown;
  • Prohibit members of Congress from making an expenditure from an authorized committee of a candidate during a government shutdown; and
  • Restrict members of Congress from taking advantage of Official Travel, with the sole exception of traveling from their home districts to Washington, D.C. 
“Make no mistake, Congress has failed the American people. Democrats, Republicans and the Independents, we have all failed you."
Rep. Max Miller (OH-7)

Miller said his fellow Republicans holding out over more demands were obstructionists.

"They're playing God with our military men and women and government employees and their pay and their livelihoods when they will continue to get a paycheck and they don't have to worry about it," Miller told Ideastream Public Media.

RELATED: How the looming federal government shutdown could impact Ohio

Kyle Kondik, managing editor at Sabato's Crystal Ball, a publication of the nonpartisan political think tank at the University of Virginia, said Miller's proposal to suspend congressional pay likely cannot happen, even if it was approved.

"My understanding is that it's written in the Constitution, effectively, that members are paid,” Kondik said. “There aren't appropriations that have to be approved, so it's just a fact of life that members of Congress get paid and federal workers don't, at least in the short term.”

Kondik believes Miller and other Republican members of the House of Representatives are legitimately frustrated.

“For many members across the country, particularly those in districts more competitive than Miller’s, this is, I think, extremely frustrating because this is the sort of thing that could politically make them look bad in their reelection bid," Kondik said.

Though Miller’s district is solidly Republican, his frustration is real, he said.

"This isn't trying to save face for the Republican party,” Miller explained. “Make no mistake, Congress has failed the American people. Democrats, Republicans and the Independents, we have all failed you."

Miller worked for former President Donald Trump starting in 2016, first as an aide, then a political appointee.

Earlier this week, Trump posted about a potential shutdown on his social media site, writing, “The Republicans lost big on Debt Ceiling, got NOTHING, and now are worried that they will be BLAMED for the Budget Shutdown. Wrong!!! Whoever is President will be blamed. UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN! Close the Border, stop the Weaponization of ‘Justice,’ and End Election Interference.”

Miller doesn't agree with his former boss.

“Look, he's the greatest president in this country's history, but I just believe, on this issue, that we really need to keep the government open,” Miller said. “I respect President Trump and his opinion, but I fundamentally believe we need to keep the government open, and these 5 to 7 [members of Congress] are obstructionists within our party. I do not look at them as freedom fighters or conservative crusaders."

There will be repercussions, Miller said, should a deal not come together last minute.

"If we shut this country down like we just did two years ago, I thought we learned our lesson," Miller said. “I understand that was a little bit different when it comes to the pandemic, but make no mistake, if you shut the federal government down, the economy will also take a hit."

Josh Boose is associate producer for newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.