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Republicans Try and Fail to Cut Karine Jean-Pierre's White House Salary to $1

Rep. Claudia Tenney and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Images: Caroline Brehman/Getty Images; Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Karine Jean-Pierre is the latest LGBTQ+ official to have her pay targeted by Republican lawmakers.


Straight off of devastating losses in statewide elections on Tuesday, House Republicans continue to attack Biden-Harris administration officials by attempting to cut their salaries as the country heads toward a government shutdown over Congress’s inability to agree on government funding. This time they are going after White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's.

Republican New York Rep. Claudia Tenney’s Thursday effort to reduce the pay of Jean-Pierre to $1 has intensified the spotlight on the GOP’s use of symbolic amendments while also drawing attention to Tenney’s own history of controversial statements. This trend within the Republican party was further exemplified by noted homophobe Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s move against Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday.

Tenney argued against Jean-Pierre on the House floor, claiming, “During Ms. Jean Pierre’s tenure as Press Secretary, she has repeatedly lied to the American people and acted condescendingly towards reporters.”

Tenney accused Jean-Pierre of being an “election denier,” citing her comments on past election outcomes, specifically the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Tenney’s amendment was ultimately rejected in a 165-257 vote despite these assertions.

On the other hand, Greene passed her amendment to cut Buttigieg’s salary to $1 on a voice vote. Her justification for this move was steeped in controversy, as she claimed, “Pete Buttigieg has reportedly taken at least 18 taxpayer-funded flights on private jets… One of these flights was taken to receive an award from the Canadian gay rights organization for advancing LGBTQ rights. American taxpayers don’t want to pay for Pete Buttigieg to get awards for the way people have sex.” However, like Tenney’s amendment, it faces significant legislative hurdles, won’t pass the Senate, and is seen primarily as a political statement.

The Advocate, seeking to understand Tenney’s rationale behind her proposal, reached out to her spokesperson for comment but did not receive a response.

This silence comes amidst scrutiny of Tenney’s record. The Washington Postreported her false claim in 2018 that former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts had already paid for themselves, and PolitiFact rated her statement that year regarding the political affiliations of mass shooters as “Pants on Fire.” She claimed that most mass murderers turn out to be Democrats.

Tenney’s record includes her unsubstantiated claim that “Dead people also voted” in the New York 22nd Congressional District race in 2020. This statement, criticized and scrutinized for its accuracy, was part of Tenney’s broader narrative challenging election integrity. PolitiFact investigated this claim and found it to be baseless, rating it “Pants on Fire.” The fact-checking organization’s analysis revealed that although some ballots were cast by individuals who later died before Election Day, these instances were identified and addressed by election officials and did not constitute voter fraud.

Additionally, Tenney’s uncertain stance on the 2020 presidential election certification has been a point of contention. She assumed her office one month following the events of January 6th. Although she did not participate in the vote to certify the election results, The Journal News reported that she is widely recognized as a firm supporter of Trump.

The Advocate has reached out to the White House for comment.

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