Two of freshman U.S. Rep. John Joyce’s first acts when joining the U.S. House of Representatives last week were to formally request his pay be withheld during the ongoing partial federal government shutdown and to vote against the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 that passed the lower chamber with almost exclusively Democratic support.
Joyce, a Republican from Blair County, who represents the new 13th Congressional District, said his pay is currently being set aside. He does not plan to accept the money even if it is offered retroactively when the shutdown concludes.
“If monies are received down the road, they will be donated to charity,” Joyce, a doctor, said during a telephone interview on Friday. “It’s not a ruse. This is something I’m taking very seriously. For me, personally, I see these people that are being expected to work without being paid. I think that if everyone took this posture we would solve the problem a lot faster.”
The main reason for the shutdown is a disagreement between Democrats, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Republicans over funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico.
Trump wants more than $5 billion for the wall, which was a central point of his 2016 presidential campaign.
The six-bill package that passed the House 241-190 on Thursday did not include funding for the wall. Also, the legislation called for repealing the Mexico City Policy that prohibits non-governmental organizations – that receive support from the United States – from performing or promoting abortions in underserved overseas areas where they provide services.
“That package, which I voted against for several reasons, and that includes that it is a very pro-abortion package, does not represent the people of Cambria County,” Joyce said. “It does not represent the people of Johnstown. And I was sent to Washington to represent the people’s house. This is the people’s house. And I’m taking that charge very seriously. I voted against that without the adequate protection of the unborn, without the adequate funding to protect our country – building the wall, protecting our citizens.
“I feel confident in voting against that.”
He described being pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-military and pro-national security as the “basic tenets of who I am,” but said he wants to work across the aisle on issues, such as health care and transportation.
As part of his learning curve, Joyce has been working with U.S. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Centre, the dean of the commonwealth’s GOP delegation, whose 15th Congressional District includes part of Cambria County.
Joyce called Thompson “truly a role model to me and many members of the House of Representatives.”
He encouraged residents of the 13th to visit him at Longworth House Office Building room 1337 in Washington, D.C.
“I invite all constituents to come to their office, the office where I have temporarily set up,” Joyce said. “But it is their office. It is your office that I am occupying.”