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

    Donating???? Hmmm, what charity do 400,000 government employees belong to that they will benefit from this? Two words for ALL of our Senators . . . .YOU'RE FIRED!

    October 3, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Ron

    Donating = a Tax write off (partly sleezy); Keeping = Entirely sleezy. Note that both Reps and Dems keeping salary/donating, showing both parties are dirtbags.

    October 3, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Vickie

    Also wonder if those "not accepting," like Ted "Cruzing us into disaster" Cruz, will get a check for back wages when (and if) the government shutdown is over? If so, those who donate are at least doing some good for charities that need it, but those who are refusing a check now may get it back later.

    October 3, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Carol

    !. Republicans (of which I am one) is not exhibiting respect for the office of the President. He is president, they are not( Mr. Boehner). 2. There should not be laws that allow politicians/lawmakers to keep salaries, etc. when it is not a law for others. Politicians should not be "above" the law. They are working for the people of America, not the other way around. Politicians are not exhibiting patriotic behavior at all. Their behavior, especially the Republicians and Mr. Boehner, are behaving like spoiled brats – and rich one at that. In my opinion, if a politicians can "donate" or "give up" their paycheck, proves they are really out of touch with "real" working Americans.

    October 3, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. simple american

    Every congress who is donating or not accepting should deposited into one account for all those workers who wont get paid at all and than treasury can disburse the payments to those workers.

    October 3, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Steve

    Time to change the law so our dear senators and representatives don't need to make a decision like this - no pay for anyone in Congress from 1 October till a budget is approved and no back-pay to cover the days they are without pay for not meeting the budget deadline the law says they must meet (1 October). The rest of the country is penalized if deadlines aren't met - they should be too.

    October 3, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. next generation leadership

    thanks for the list of people that I won't vote for...regardless if they gave it to charities or not...plus why give it to charity, shouldn't they give it to the treasury to pay the 800k people out of work?

    October 3, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Wingsmaz...

    Really ..Are you kidding me,,Donate,??? You should not get payed ..
    The the people are working for free should or must get payed >>>Its your misstake whats going on .....
    Really DONATE.

    October 3, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. Tom123

    Congress (esp. the GOP), America's Homegrown Terrorists.

    Who needs foreign terrorists when we have Congress and their fanaticism? Congress has shown to be more than willing and able to hurt America and bring it to its knees more than any foreign terrorists could. Go on vacation and delay funding for hurricane Sandy relief – no problem! Delay funding for children's cancer research – no problem! Close America's monuments to American heroes like WWII veterans – no problem! Cost business and citizens billions and billions in lost money – no problem! Stop Congressional paychecks – well, that's a problem! Congress deserves to be FIRED for NON-PERFORMANCE and DEPORTED as UNDESIRABLES.

    October 3, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Todd

    Donate????? LOL. They are donating to some corporation that will "donate" the money back to them after this stupid shut down is over. This is ridiculous, it's like two gangs fighting against one another for a turf war. Maybe they should change from Republicans and Democrats to Crips and Bloods. THe US Government is a joke.

    October 3, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Incipio

    I'd also like to see a list beside this one, of who voted for this.. so I know who ..not .... to vote for next term.

    October 3, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. g.t.

    Congressmen and Senators do not live pay check to pay check, the people waiting on $ from the feds, like veterans are not as rich as they are.

    October 3, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Congratulations America! Glad you voted in Obama?!
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes we are, thanks for asking.
    We're NOT so happy about having also voted in the a-holes in Congress that shut the government down.

    October 3, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Ron

    Donating or not accepting their paychecks doesn't matter...the point is in the statement made about the tax structure and how it works.They all know what they're doing.This procedure that's being applied is about benefiting them through the tax loop-holes.If they really want to help someone,create a savings fund being tax deferred in helping families in need... besides creating a hedge-fund for these selfish ass-holes.Both parties are at fault.(Marcus)you just don't get it do you,this isn't about a competition WHO CAN OUT DO WHO,.it's all about the AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THEIR LIVES.Your far from reality.

    October 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Distressedforloughedworker

    I have a family with four young chilren living from pay check to pay check. I may not be able to feed them on my forlough days. Thousands of Americans like do also suffer. Please stop the shutdown so our families will not be in the street looking for food.

    October 3, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Mike

    This article is irrelevant. Whether or not they get paid is a trivial issue. Actually, the whole shutdown is trivial, given our country's challenges. Take health care, a European friend tried to explain our health system to her family. "So you pay hundreds of dollars a month from you income for health insurance. Then, if you get sick, you pay more money (1000s of dollars) to get care." Sounds ridiculous when you think about it. The only country that this makes sense to is us. While I dislike the ACA because it falls short of making health care a right, I support it because it is better than letting the current system bankrupt the American economy. I work for a small business that provides health care. I paid $200 a month for a family plan in 2001. Now, I pay $550 and my employer pays 70% of the cost. Republicans fail to realize that they won this issue. ObamaCare is their 1993 response to HillaryCare. Also, the actual funding bill is the Republican budget numbers. Enough with the obstructionism. If you have a solution to the fractured US healthcare system offer it; I hope there is a better solution. But please, don't sell your snake oil that repealing the ACA will solve our problems. We spend double any other country on healthcare, and have the 33rd highest life expectancy. Any CEO would be fired for such results at a company. Obstructionism is destroying America–our roads, our schools, our environment, our economy... Time to govern, compromise, and move the country forward before these manufactured crises turn into a real one.

    October 3, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Trust but Verify

    Easy to say "I'm donating my paycheck" when CNN calls. I hope CNN continues to follow this and CONFIRMS that these idiots are indeed donating or refusing their checks.

    October 3, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Pamela

    There are some representatives names from Kansas missing. They are probably hope nobody realizes their names are missing. Big Republicans who don't care about the average American in this country. They want to force down our throats religion, extremist views, and other nonsense. Yet, many of them get Federal subsidies. CNN should list every congressional person who receives subsidies from the taxpayers. I am sure it would be enlightening!!! They have free government healthcare provided by all taxpayers in which some can't afford medical insurance. The Republicans must be so proud of themselves shutting down the government. The Republicans have said from one day one when President Obama was elected that their goal was to go against everything and anything that President Obama was presenting. I have always been a registered Republican, but do not vote straight ticket because I think the Republican party only cares about their own pockets or rich contributors. The Republican party needs a reality check since they do not live on Main Street USA.

    October 3, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. jenirose3

    puleez I want to see proof of that....our elected officials lie, cheat and steal so much that I would not be surprised if they were lying about this...

    October 3, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Sam

    They will write it off come tax time.

    October 3, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. jenirose3

    On the left or right VOTE for the "new guy" in the next [and every one there after] election. The American public needs to impose term limits on congress if they won't do it!!!

    October 3, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Amarjeet

    No charity is charity in the eyes of moral eyes, God grace and law of logic when others are left without jobs, income for families and means of survival. Only in dictatorship the power center draws his/her own rule. Congress is just going that way without sympathy for millions suffering without services, want of income, insecurity and instability of family life. It is just wrecking the great constitution of America and departure from democratic principles. President alone is elected be all people of America unlike Congress who are elected by respective state constituencies and exist only for political existence and interests.

    October 3, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Brian

    Those who accept their pay today will get their payback on election day.

    October 3, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. john burke

    Rep cruz is obviously testing waters for vp or president.I am a republican.Forget it. If presidential term is for 8years why isn,t congress?When we the people continue to elect the same and expect something better or even outstanding shame on our foolishness!

    October 3, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. joe

    I'm sorry, if you're able to donate your salary. Why are we paying you so much. Can you please add a salary reduction to the donation part too.

    October 3, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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