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

    The 2014 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorship's, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

    Fire them all in 13 months.

    October 3, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Holding their paychecks doesn't solve the problem. They only know how to obstruct, not solve the problem. It's all smoke and mirrors.

    October 3, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Cephus

    Really? Do they deserve those wages or should we call it congress welfare. These goons will come back and start talking about food stamps bearing in mind they are the biggest welfare recipients this month.

    October 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Spring

    What needs to happen is that the Constitution needs to be changed that no Senator or House member receive pay from the taxpayers and health benefits! Every last one of them are millionaires to billionaires and do not need the money for living or health care. All they are doing is investing our change to gain more wealth in their own personal pockets. That money can be contributed back to pay off our national debt and/or fund other necessary government funding.

    The only reason these rich people seek the office is to become more rich and push their own personal agenda. Not the people of America just their own personal gain. The perks they receive by courting "big business and the super rich" is a greater gain for them, so why do we pay them still???? If the pay stop maybe then we can elect these morons out of office and open the doors for real Americans to be elected instead of these "I have and raised the most money" greedy "I look out for myself" so called politicians!

    October 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. LBB

    I wish some news people would do some investigative reporting on the big money that is funding these tea party primaries that go after any moderate republican who is willing to negotiate with the democrats/President Obama.

    October 3, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Good for those who are not accepting their pay and for those keeping their pay, they would do well to keep in mind that the American public will remember that at election time!

    October 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Fed Up With the Feds

    It's appalling that ANYONE is keeping their checks, or even keeping them and donating them to charity! They should, and their staffers should, as well, RETURN THEIR CHECKS until the next time the furloughed workers get PAID!

    October 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Jeff

    What a great gesture....since they are trying to make themselves equal on the payroll end, why don't they do the same with health insurance and pension....it's an empty gesture...shame on these people

    October 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Dougals

    They've decided to not do their job. We should decide to give the job to someone that will do it.

    They've decided to put party politics (both sides) ahead of our interests. It's in our best interest to give both parties the boot.

    Vote the incumbant out in 2014.

    October 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Pamela

    Congress members should only be allowed to serve for two terms. I believe the majority of Americans would back this proposal. I think congress should vote on a two term limit which would be for the people and by the people!!! I bet they won't even consider their constitutes' wishes. I do believe a petition can be started on the official us government website.

    October 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. Fools Paradise

    Agree 100% with Bob. FIRE THEM ALL - DON'T FORGET THIS MESS ON ELECTION DAY! Tell them the days of Wine and Roses are over. Let them bust their butts like the rest of us who are lucky enough to have a job.

    October 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Flagship, NC

    The tea party are the ones that have to be cleaned out.

    October 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Pam from Iowa

    Seriously??? Do they really think that donating their paycheck is going to make Americans think better of them???
    Well, maybe the GOP thinks that. We all know how delusional they are!!!

    October 3, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Mopery

    Do the country a favor and vote all of Congress out next election. Whoever you vote to replace them be sure that they are not career politicians. The phrase "career politician" is the single most offensive term you can use in a representative democracy, as they are all entrenched puppets who are bought and sold to the highest bidders. Return the power to the people, vote for whoever is not supported by big business, vote for whoever has never held elected office. America has the best government that money can buy, and it's long past time we did something to stop that.

    October 3, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. mike

    That's all well and fine, but where the hell is the info on the other 7 senators and the 332 members of the house? the math doesnt add up. count the names!

    October 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. port1974

    God please help our politicians in their time of need. Please forgive them for their poor decisions; for their inability to perform the tasks they've been elected to do; for accepting a salary whilst they take the very same away from those that actually need it; for being hypocrites, liars, self-serving individuals, that are unable to put their arrogance aside for the greater good of others. God bless all these poor souls.

    October 3, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Catherine

    It is such a relief to know the millionaires are showing solidarity with the middleclass government workers they are screwing over by not accepting their pay. We need to get a grassroots movement going for a new amendment to the constitution that states if Congress cannot get their act together and stop this lurching from crisis to crisis then they must not only forgo their pay, they must pay a daily fine until they resolve the conflict. It would also be nice to add that their pay cannot exceed the ratio between Congressional pay and the minimum wage established in 1995 and they are required to live within any law they pass. Let them live with real dollars and the rules their constituents deal with on a daily basis.

    October 3, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Kiley

    No one cared to poll South Dakota Reps? Come on.

    October 3, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Colleen

    Where is Nancy Pelosi on this list? Where is Harry Reid?

    October 3, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Art

    Paycheck is not enough... they should also give away their entitlement to the health benefits they receive.

    October 3, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Pamela

    The Republicans, especially Mr. Cruz, is acting like a dictator. Scary to think that one party can try to hold hostage the entire United States. The sad thing was that the economy was improving, but now many in the federal system are without wages that they need to survive. I think Republicans want this country to crash and burn. They want no government which is considered not a good choice at all if one looks at countries in other areas of the world that has collapsed due to fighting among different fractions. Yes, keep doing what your doing to ruin this country Republicans. You are the joke of the world!!!

    October 3, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Doug

    What about their health insurance? If this goes on past October I will have to pay 100% of my health insurance. My wife has stage 4 cancer and is coming out of remission. Loss of pay, behind in bills, and now trying to figure out how to pay for treatment for my wife’s cancer.

    October 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Ilona in PA

    Congress in the real taker.

    October 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Worldtraveler

    You forgot to list the executive branch – the president and his cabinet.

    October 3, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Haven

    I call BS on all of them. Who's going to follow up and find out who actually donated what? No one – and they know it.
    It's just more posturing and pandering. We need to clean house.

    October 3, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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