CNN keeps count: Congress gets paid, but who's keeping their paycheck?
October 3rd, 2013
09:25 AM ET
6 months ago

CNN keeps count: Congress gets paid, but who's keeping their paycheck?

(CNN) – While more than 800,000 federal workers, including some congressional staffers, are being furloughed during the government shutdown, members of Congress are still getting paid, as required by law.

But some members of the House and Senate–the very bodies that failed to prevent the shutdown–are giving away their salary in solidarity.

CNN reached out to all 533 current members of Congress about their paycheck plans.

As of Thursday at 5:00 p.m., the tally showed 32 senators are donating to charity or the Treasury Department, while nine are not accepting a paycheck and two are undecided.

Two senators, Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, told CNN they plan to keep their salary.

On CNN's Crossfire, Coburn said that he plans to keep his salary and "spend it and tithe it and give to it charities and do the things that I've always done."

In the House, 47 representatives say they're donating to charity or the Treasury, while 65 are not accepting a paycheck and two are undecided.

Seven House members, however, say they're keeping their salary– Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida; Rep. Danny Davis, D-Illinois; Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Indiana; Rep. William 'Lacy' Clay, Jr., D-Missouri; Rep. Howard Coble, R-North Carolina; Rep. Susan Brooks, R-North Carolina; Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-North Carolina.

"I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line,” Ellmers told North Carolina station WTVD in a phone interview. “I understand that maybe there are members who are deferring their paychecks and that's admirable," said Ellmers. "I'm not in that position."

Here are our numbers in two interactive spreadsheets:

Government shutdown: Senators gets paid, but who's keeping their paycheck?

Government shutdown: House gets paid, but who's keeping their paycheck?


Filed under: Congress • Government Shutdown
soundoff (728 Responses)
  1. Greg

    Why are Dems not accepting paychecks? They have nothing to do with the shutdown. It's the GOP who are upset with the way democracy works and don't like a law that was passed.

    October 3, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Edeward Love

    According to your figures it is interesting to note that Democrats outnumber the Republicans in making donations of their salaried pay..that is money once given cannot be retrieved.
    Republicans outnumber the Democrats in declining/not accepting their checks. The question is, "Can they at some future date change their mind and collect the money the are now declining?...That is....oops I didn't really mean to decline it...or I now have extenuating circumstances can I get "MY" money back .

    October 3, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Yup, they WILL NOT keep their checks, like they said they did not want the government to shutdown. This makes them liars because the government is shutdown.

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Mary

    Google kosh brothers tea party. Haven't you wondered why a small fraction was able to shut down the government? Why they closed down over health care law yet it didn't effect the health care law? And how did the tea party get started out of know where? None of it makes any sense until you find out the tea party is funded by 2 billionaire brothers the kosh brothers and have thrown millions at it for the sole purpose of hiding behind tea party candidates to push for deregulation of any law or agency that might regulate them. They have had numerous charges against them, fines. The tea part puppets were told to shut down the government if Obamacare wasn't defunded. And the speaker of the house is letting this happen because he doesn't want to loose his power. He's going to let these criminals hurt innocent Americans. These guys don't care, there whole goal is to strip government to the bear bones so they can operate as they please. I know it sounds crazy I thought so to but google it– kosh brothers tea party"

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Diane

    Congress can afford to give away or forfeit their salaries and they should for allowing the shutdown. There are thousands of workers and single family parents that have no other resources to feed and shelter their families. Congress should have an accepted budget prepared every year so that this type of disaster should not even happen, but yet we have been on a continuing resolution for the last five years. Congress representatives are public servants for the American people, who have failed us. Their health care and all expenses are covered by the American people and they do not have to use Obamacare. Also the president and congress will continue to receive salaries for life, which is the largest welfare rip off in our country.

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Ed

    So a few things here. BIG DEAL! They got us in this mess and now they want to be recognized for not taking their checks? Hey, pay me their salary and benefits and I will not accept a few checks too!
    Also, I have been reading that non-essential employees have been furloughed. Doesn't anyone think that non-essential means we can get along without them? If so, WHY are they there in the first place?

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. dr.bsm

    Meaningless gestures–a drop in their bucket is nothing to them, a drop was quenching my thirst– indeed world is a stage–and this is grand political theatre. Who cares.

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Xavier

    They are all Thiefs they are looking for themselves first me second me and third me....

    October 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. nonyabidnes2

    What a waste of print. Who cares about who donates and who's undecided.. Tha facts are they already have money from lobbyist. Unfortunately there are approximately 800,000 on furlough. We need to furlough the 533 members of congress. I think now is the time to discuss TERM LMITS, amend our constitution or al the very least turn stop paying congress for not working.

    October 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Norman Smith

    This is such a joke with these people. The ones that donate still get to write it off their taxes. The ones that aren't accepting will get them later. The ones that haven't decided just haven't figured out how to make themselves look good without it coming back on them. I think all of their salaries should be reduced to the annual National Median Income for all Americans. Bet that will motivate the lazy useless bums to get off of their butts or get out of politics.

    October 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. johnk

    Here is also another problem with the crumbs. They are on the dole with lobbying groups, who pay them gift and yes even money, we need to end all lobbying groups in Washington and the Congress now, it is to much of a conflict. All of Congress has their own medical health plans and even a separate retirement program. We should demand all of the Congress, end both these programs and go into medicare and Social Security just like the rest of us based upon length of service to pay.

    October 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Members of Congress have not been doing their jobs, thus they should not be paid. They must think that we are STUPIID.....oh, wait, we must be because we keep electing them.

    October 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. annie

    It is not Republicans Fault !!
    They want Goverment Open! They just do not want Obama Care, and neither a Ton of Americans
    So if Obama believes in his Counrty Cares for the People , Wants Goverment Open
    Then Dont Fund Obama Care Let people think and give it a year or Get rid of it completely
    Its not the way America Wants it, its a Stubborn President who wants his way at any Cost to The American People
    That is my Opinion and PS he is not the 1st Black American President , dont let him use the Race Card on your mind
    He is Bi Racial Half Black and Half White !! Time to Set the Record Straight !
    If he cares for the People he wont Force Feed a Plan they even the Constitution says cannot happen !!
    The Republicans are not to Blame this time at all !!!

    October 3, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Jenn

    Ind Senator Dan Coats (R) is missing off the list. He is NOT ACCEPTING his pay either.

    October 3, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. sj

    there is no one from ks ? where are they standing

    October 3, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Shannon

    The ones that scare me are the ones who are "undecided". If they can't even decide what to do with this one paycheck, how can we expect them to decide on our national budget? Is it possible to impeach all of Congress?

    October 3, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Nancy Miller

    Ashleigh Banfield called these folks out before the shutdown even started. She rocks! Dana Bash...not so much.

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. FZMello

    Amused by all of this. Everybody's so conditioned to think that stopping the government from recklessly spending money is "not doing their job". Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Senate sends bills up to the House; the House votes on them. This has continued to happen. Meanwhile, the media keeps spewing their pre-agreed line about how the shut-down is so "disastrous" to the economy. If this is so, it means that far too much of the economy is really the government chasing its own tail in disguise, and that the media is complicit in this deception. Note how none of the programs that the government deems vital to it's own interests are even slowed down, much less shut down. This is just more theatre, aimed at letting the government increase its already irresponsible spending levels.

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. M Russell

    I guess my question is can they then claim at tax time this money as a charitable contribution.

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Miguel

    Does Obama get to keep the maids and servants at the White House?

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Mel Stricker

    Here is the real impact. I live in Tampa Florida the home of McDill AFB. There are many civilian workers on this base with shops that surround the base that make a living from these base worker. Many of the shops have laid off people because no base worker means no customers.

    The other problem is the many base workers that have security clearances might lose those clearances because if your credit rating goes down to a certain point you cannot have a clearance. If people are not paid and they cannot pay their bills (like mortgages) then their credit rating might take a hit. The end result, these workers will lose their jobs.

    All because Republicans do not want people to have healthcare. This is not a shame, this is a crime.

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. History Bear

    Their corporate sponsers will make sure they don't suffer and most are well off without the salary . It's the power. In all this whoo ha over Obama care, the republicans have yet to offer one realistic solution.

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. NameJean

    Some questions I hope someone could answer: Doesn't Congress (both Houses) have the authority to pass separate appropriations bills for each federal agency, and the President sign each appropriations bill without a continuing resolution?

    Also, is funding for Obamacare requested in only one appropriations bill - that is HHS?

    If yes, please tell me why Congress and the President are unable to pass the required separate appropriations bills–not a catch all CR– for the other federal agencies and work out a CR for HHS?

    Would love to hear from US constitutional and federal budget scholars who can answer these questions?
    What b is theWhy doesn't Congress, both Houses

    October 3, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. John

    Nobody within government should be paid until a budget is passed.

    October 3, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Dararie

    Frank LoBiondo also doesn't take his health insurance. He's covered by a policy with his family business. He's also the only republican I ever vote for.

    October 3, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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