Senator: Capitol Police Working Without Pay Is 'A National Disgrace'
Capitol Police officers who sprang into action on Thursday during a shooting near the U.S. Capitol are among the hundreds of thousands of government employees being forced to work without pay during the shutdown.
They are deemed essential personnel, but will not be paid until after the budget impasse is resolved.
"That this government is shut down today and they're not getting paid is a national disgrace," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told ABC News.
Sanders was among the senators who witnessed the chase and heard gunshots. He said he hid behind a black SUV for about five minutes before police escorted him back into the Capitol building. He said he was troubled by Republican leaders rushing to the House floor to praise the police, but making no mention of their financial sacrifice.
"I suspect at the end of the day they will get paid, but they have mortgages to meet, they have college loans to meet," Sanders said. "These are not millionaires. They are struggling people who have families and kids."
Thursday's gunfire occurred after a female suspect attempted to ram the White House gates. What followed was a high-speed chase that ended at the U.S. Capitol, where shots were fired. The incident sent senators and staffers into their offices in the Capitol complex, which was put under a temporary lockdown.
As members of the House of Representatives returned to the chamber to continue debating how to end the shutdown later Thursday afternoon, several of them took to House floor to laud the Capitol Police force and other first responders.
Sgt. Terry Gainer, the Sergeant at Arms in the Senate and former chief of police, told ABC News that no Capitol Police officers were shot in the chaos. But there was a traffic injury involving a Capitol Police officer.
"There was a lot of confusion, but it does not appear any law enforcement officers were shot," Gainer toldABC News.
Thursday's incident ended at 2nd Street and Constitution Ave. N.E. - directly outside the Hart Senate Office building, about two blocks east of the Capitol.
Standing ovation on the House floor for the United States Capitol Police. pic.twitter.com/RtuQ4cbrhI
- Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) October 3, 2013
thoughts & prayers with capitol police officer who was injured today. thankful for everything cap police does to keep us safe every day.
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) October 3, 2013
Our thanks go out to the U.S. Capitol Police for all they did today to keep us and our staff safe. We're grateful for everything they do.
- RepRonBarber (@RepRonBarber) October 3, 2013
A resounding "thank you" to the Capitol Hill Police who keep the Hill safe day in and day out. Our heroes don't always wear capes.
- Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 3, 2013