CNN keeps count: Congress gets paid, but who's keeping their paycheck?
October 3rd, 2013
09:25 AM ET
10 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. monte schwarzwalder

    Legislators – Just because you are giving away your check does not make it O.K. I am still loosing my check no matter what you do with your check.

    October 3, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. David

    Is this government shut down affecting our judicial system? Are the supreme court justice going to be furloughed? What about our countries security how is this being affected?

    October 3, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. marianne

    Big deal...donating a check to charity...who are they kidding. Quite frankly, does that help the hundreds of thousands of people who are being financially impacted by this needless shut down? It's not just federal employees, it's the people who bag the groceries at commissaries, it's the hot dog vendor near the Washington Monument, it's the hotel receptionist in Washington DC and at the hotels near National Parks... TOTAL IRRESPONSIBILITY ON THE PART OF THE "LEADERS" OF THIS COUNTRY.

    October 3, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Col B

    I'll bet the White House Chef is still getting a paycheck as part of the "essential" work force. Why not have Michele do the cooking for several weeks...she could teach her daughters what a kitchen is.....

    October 3, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Kelly

    How about the republican's wanting to defund Health Care giving up their government health care until they find an acceptable way for everyone to get health care.

    October 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. TJC

    Seriously CNN, I don't care about this political showmanship. It's a nice symbolic gesture but congressional pay is nil compared to the US budget and it's not likely that any of these congressmen would suffer if they forgo pay for a little while, unlike the thousands of federal workers and government contractors who aren't getting paid. This is a distraction. I'd like to see you highlight this suffering and highlight the important government institutions like the NIH, CDC, and others that have been shut down.

    October 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. wgs

    Why should I be impressed, these congressmembers 'not accepting' their checks will eventually get paid when this is over, yet as of now I will not. When I get back to work I'll have twice as much stuff to do for the pleasure of not getting paid. And these fools and their staffs giving their paychecks to 'charity' (probably some political charity) should be giving it to a fund to pay public servants during this shutdown that was very preventable.

    October 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Bryan Rogers

    I hope someone puts together a detailed list of member of Congress that will enroll in the new Health Care program.

    October 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Jane

    Wow! As an American living in Canada, I apologize for the complete dysfunctional embarrassment the USA has become.

    October 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Silence DoGood

    Instead of grandstanding to refuse or donate, it should just be a law. Shutdown includes congress members. No pay, no fanfare. And without a personal emergency, they cannot leave DC until re-opened.

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Fran Feighery

    Where did you get your facts from? If your sources are suspect and not verifiable, shame on you! If the facts are true- Where are the big names? Pelosi, Boehner, Reid, Patrick Leahy, Steni Hoyer, et.al?

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Ron

    A slick way to try to make yourself look good after you have created a crisis.

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. BobJustBob

    Dan, Stef & thinking outside the box may want to double-check their corrections.

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Marcus

    Watto: You may want to consider looking into how tax law works. You don't receive tax breaks for donating to charity...you simply don't get taxed on what you donate. That said, if they were to receive a refund, it would be the amount they were taxed on the amount they "didn't receive" because they passed it to charity.

    My concern would be: to whom are they donating their pay? Likely some super-PAC. This is where your (Watto's) point is made. In this way, it's as if they ARE accepting pay and putting it to work for their interests.

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. DB

    Why is it that everyone is up in arms over the loss of income over the GOVT. shutdown....but NO ONE is talking about the loss of income to hundreds of thousands because of Obamacare? Sounds to me like a whole lot of people are losing their incomes because of this law. why are those affected by a short term, temporary Govt shutdown more important than those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut back because of the effects of a new law that only the Dems support? Maybe it's time that everyone feel the harm of this bad law!

    October 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Law Abiding Citizen

    I think we need to propose new ammendment which will state that in the events of government shutdown the all the legislature, senator, house representative , all the fancy title representative shouldnt get paid either. Its not the citizen wants to shut down government, it people in white house and capitol hill are the one shutting down government, so they are the one shouldnt get paid. PERIOD.

    October 3, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Kathleen Reed

    How does donating to the Federal Reserve work, and how can we donate to NASA?

    October 3, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. NameAlice

    I'm all for the shutdown. This country is being destroyed by runaway spending. Somehow we need to get a grip. If I ran my finances as our nation does ..... oh my! We have a bully at the top who spends now and worry not... we will pay later! If anyone tries to stop him his cronies all yell the race card. Mr President you represent all of us! Grow up and act like a man with responsibility. You preach dialog but it' really a monolog! And....your Bully Pulpit is the mainstream media! It is really not your way or the highway!!!! Your behavior is disgraceful!

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. sonny

    The congress should not get paid just like other government workders. That is rediculous !!

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Scott VA

    Is "not-accepting a paycheck" a play on words they are using....receiving a direct deposit I bet.
    BUMS

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    To those that keep saying tha so-and-so is a Rep not a Senator and vice versa, does it really matter?
    Isn't the point that these people are takind a paycheck at all, one that they have not earned in eons?
    Isn't the point that the millionaires that comprise the leasdership in Congress and the Senate are taking their paychecks home while the people that they've laid off don't know if they'll be able to make their mortgage payments and keep their lights on?
    Isn't that more important than quibbling about he's not a Rep he's a Sen when they are both screwing us good?
    I'm just saying. Pardon me.

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Do they think we're that stupid??

    Their paychecks should automatically be cut off during a shutdown....and not reimbursed when the government starts functioning again.

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Larry in Houston

    Hey CNN – I am listening to Obama's speech – He's correct – Now, I'm not in Love w/ Obama. But he's correct. The bonehead has gotten Hi-jacked by the rightest wing of his party. and that is too bad...... If this thing goes on & on & on.....they may not know it, but they (the republicans will dearly pay for it, when mid-terms rolls around) So the bottom line, IF I was Harry Reid & company, I would keep my cool / relax, & don't worry about it... When you've got 4 or 5 million people that is INTERESTED in the ACA, by calling, like we say in Houston......"Houston, you've got a problem""
    So how could the repubs continue to say that people hate it ??? Hello ?? LOL

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Andrew Denyer

    The real question should be what about their congressional and district staff. If they had to furlough them or they where not getting paid like other government workers I have a feeling the clean CR would be put to house vote by the end of the day.

    October 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Holly

    How will anyone really know if they donate it?

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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