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. Ralph_in_FL

    Unsurprisingly, the worthless Tea Party tool who represents my district does not even have guts enough to declare himself.

    October 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Dave Dunn

    This story is irrelevant because, barring any personal spending problems such as a gambling addiction, our congressmen are so much more well-heeled than the average American that even if they did have to skip several paychecks in a row they would not feel any pain whatsoever. As for most federal employees, they could easily have set aside a one-year emergency fund and should not be feeling any pain right now either. Neither of these two classes should have any woes right now, paycheck or not.

    October 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Paddy

    McClintock, a key player in this game, and my representative, is not donating. .Nor is Ted Cruz, the architect, or House Speaker Boehner – the only person who can open the government today if he wants to. Thanks you Peter King, Republican of New York and Darrell Issa, Republican from California and the other moderate Republicans for fighting amongst their party or those of us who are shut down.

    October 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. marko

    How about we send piece meal legislation to the house of representatives. That members of the house rescind their exemptions from the new healthcare and they and their support people pay for insurance without help from the government. How's that for compromise!
    It's time to stop drinking the tea!!! Amend Amendment 27

    October 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. emil

    Charities don't need your check right now. The working man does. Keep the money cash it and help the people in their districts they are personally scewing. Pay their rents and other bills. There are alot of hard working people prople out there who would really appreciate it if for once they stepped up and helped those who actually both need and deserve it.

    October 3, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Huge Johnson

    The greater question is...WHY IS THE MAJORITY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MADE UP OF NON-ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL? IT'S A WASTE OF MONEY, AND ACTUALLY SOUNDS LIKE A MAFIA.

    October 3, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. korkea aika

    NOT ACCEPTING is the way to go. Then when the BananaRepublicans get over it, and fund the government, those checks will be paid retroactively. Neat trick.

    October 3, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. USA John

    I didn't notice Harry Reid's name listed anyplace, why isnt a bill on the table to not pay politicians, seems they cant do their job. if i dont do mine i dont get paid

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. jennifer n

    So they are donating paychecks. ..... nice tax deduction

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Dan

    I notice Obama is not mentioned. I wonder if he is keeping his. I mean, he is worth 10 million so he really doens't need it

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Linda

    It's sad we the people put congress in place by voting for them and for what? They are playing with peoples lives by shutting down the government offices , but not all ok the ones they think mean something are still open. But honestly they should have kept them all open.

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. Mother of Ted Cruz

    shante's mom: Couldn't have said it better myself. PERFECT

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. SJ

    So some are donating to charity...a good tax reduction for them. I only respect the ones not accepting their checks.

    October 3, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. JBB

    I am a furloughed federal employee, and I am not impressed. These people are mostly millionaires to start with. I am worried that the cynical Tea Party Congress will vote not to reimburse federal employees when this is all over.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Ian

    They are working so why exactly should they not get paid? I don't get this logic at all. Understandable people are upset they can't come to a resolution but that makes zero sense to me. It's not like federal workers are working and just not getting paid.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Ladyc

    Rubbish!!! They are donating to only claim it at the end of the year. Open the government so people who depend on their jobs can go to work as most of them cannot afford to lose a pay check. Shame on Congress for allowing this to happen. Shame on CNN and other outlets for allowing them to get away with trying to fool the American people – call these politicians out on the games they are playing.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. RS

    Both houses of congress should follow through with their promise they made just as the new legislative session was to start. That they would not take any pay if they were not able to come up with budget. The reason for the shamfull shut down is because congress is being childish, both parties, and were not able to either come up with a continuing resolution to keep the doors open or an actual budget. Were are the great compromisers that our nation saw in some of its darkets hours.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. NL

    But – the major point here is that they have a CHOICE because they still receive a paycheck. Those that are effected and do not have this choice are in no way responsible for the decisions being made by the powers that be. So I don't see them as noble or whatever it is that they think they are being.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. Michael Cusumano

    I am completely disappointed in the Presidents speech. We are not stupid Americans! Yes pay our bills, but if your out of money stop buying things! In other words, we are in debt and owe trillions, so if we can not afford to give more benefits to people in an out of this country then simply close the wallet until we balance the budget. Are my fellow CITIZENS really this stupid?

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. sgreco

    I hnestly dont care who gets paid and who doesnt in congress. They can all refuse a paycheck and it will not pay the families of furloughed workers one cent.

    GET RID OF THE REPUBLICANS instead. They're the ones who shut down the government in the first place.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Raj

    Not accepting is the okay guys/gals. The donating guys are simply trying to see opportunities for tax benefits by showing those donations in their tax papers.

    October 3, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Randy

    I heard our congressman say on the radio that he has asked for his checks to be put on "hold." He is on the "Not Accepting" list. I translate this to...please save my checks for me, and send them all when this blows over.

    October 3, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. wrm

    Jesus, who cares within the scheme of what's going on?This is the biggest piece of irrelevant populist drivel.

    October 3, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Aaron Poscovsky

    Time to cut government working staff and government offices in half.

    All our money goes to people, that live off off the working class.

    October 3, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Aaron Poscovsky

    Close half of the do nothing government department.

    October 3, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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