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

    Donations to charities are tax deductible. Send the checks back to the US Treasury.
    Both branches - Legislative & Executive - brought on this current crisis. The Exec didn't send a proposed budget to Congress when he was supposed to; Congress has taken recesses and vacations instead of working on the budget and debt ceiling - the last one last month. This is especially disheartening after sequestration went into effect.
    The USA is supposed to be a world leader - I'm ashamed and sad. Come 2014 I will remember.

    October 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Dave Farrington

    How do you not accept an electronic salary payment?

    October 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Gatto Nero

    These folks just don't get it... They can promise to make all the donations that they want and "open" as many war memorials as they please with the press carefully invited. The offers to donate are cynical because: (1) they are VOLUNTARY, (2) will never be enforced and (3), do not affect their equally useless staff many of whom are younger and would therefore feel real pain. Not only are these fools failing miserably to do their jobs, they are wrecking the country while they are at it. There will be no "winners" in this -only losers and worse losers. The leaders need to get together in a small room (excluding anybody who might leak to the press what is said), and find a way out of this mess pronto. We will know that they are onto something when they propose a solution under which neither side appears to "win", but each comes away with enough that their base supporters believe that they did not lose.

    October 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Colleen

    Also would like to point out that 69 Republicans are not keeping/ donating vs 56 Democrats. Interesting...

    October 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Keeda

    The sad thing is that most likely they can afford to give a check away. A lot of the American people can hardly afford their expenses on one check, therefore to miss a check or have one delayed adds a triple affect. I think congress is disconnected from the people they serve. I believe the American people should rise up and shutdown all services...then maybe they will get a clue that we are not nonessentials or a bargaining tool for a temper tantrum! The law is the law, if you don't like it make adjustments, but don't stop the nation because you can't have your way! I am so tired of this bull!

    October 3, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Fed Up with Our Leadership

    How about Obama? Is he donating or rejecting his pay? Is he giving up his monthly vacation?

    October 3, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. jonquil123

    I'm glad Chris Murphy is keeping his pay; he's had no part of this Tea Party spectacle. Democrats have worked hard to "come to the table", trying to open conference over 30 times with Republicans, compromising on everything, giving things up, while Tea Partiers are barely happy with getting "95% of what [they] wanted". Why should they fall victim to more GOP games? Chris Murphy has support from this Connecticut voter and taxpayer.

    October 3, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. BBT

    Now I want them to give up their medical coverage until they do their job. We need to boot out of office all those 80 Republicans that have forced this shut down upon the American People. Then we need to get rid of those that walked lock and step with them and did nothing to correct the direction of their party. Until Republicans can reclaim their party from the tea party and religious extremists we need to keep them out of power.

    October 3, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Ohio resident

    What will the Speaker do with his check?

    October 3, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. L

    People it does not matter if they get paid or not. Unlike some of the 800,000 federal workers, the congress men and women are wealthy enough to where one paycheck does not matter for them. I hope the government decides to backpay all of those affected!

    October 3, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Richard Miller

    What a bunch of bull. Most of those donating don't need the money anyway. Fix your screwup congress!

    October 3, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Pamela

    Didn't the Republicans question President Obama's birth certificate if my memory serves me correct? When one is Canadian/Cuban, nobody question's that person's place of birth. Yes, he was born in the United States, but has Canadian Citizenship as well. I am not against him being in us politics, but it is astounding that the tea party even accepted this individual based on the fact he also has Canadian citizenship. I guess they don't play by the same rules they try to impose on others. They can't accept the truth when President Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate proved he was born on American soil.

    October 3, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Amber

    This is some real BS. Why with the livelihood of the country. Federal employees aren't just
    There as decoration they are performing a service. I think it's time to include congress as federal employees. So the next time they decide not to compromise and payment is stopped for federal employees but we still have to work. They will feel the pain too, and think of us as constituents and less like pawns.

    October 3, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. jim

    Vote them all out..

    October 3, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Mary

    Look, we all know what is going on. Rich gets richer and poor gets poorer, while middle class hang on to little pennies they earn with dear life. It is really sad that we do not have not even one honest leader in our government. Our policy makers do not care for the people they represent. We, as an American, do not have any right to say any negative thing about any other world leaders. We, as people, can not even police our own politician and put them in their place. Sorry to say, we voted for these incompentent fools in Washington. Majority rules and this should be a wake up call for American public to better educate ourselves in area of who and what we are signing on to when we vote.

    October 3, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. fastrack1

    Easy to tell the media you're donating your check, but are you really?

    If they lie about everything else, how can we expect them to be truthful about money, for crying out loud!

    October 3, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. ug

    The people not accepting the checks have my respect...libs or GOP...they are doing the right thing...and that is hard for me to say about any lib at all...

    October 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Wyoming

    What about Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming?

    October 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Pamela

    Where are all the other people in congress that are not on the list? What are they doing with their paychecks? Don't come back after the furlough has been lifted and receive your monies or write off your donations for tax purposes!!!

    October 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Cleo VB

    Please note that the worthless POS most responsible for this shutdown, John Boehner, is not on the list of House members giving up their salary. I know government workers – good, hard-working people who serve their country every day far better than any of these arrogant, reckless idiots – who will have serious financial problems if this shutdown continues for an extended period. Someone should organize a national recall of every single member of Congress to send a message – yes, even the "good" ones. They ALL play these games, and the system is utterly broken. It's time for a revolution.

    October 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Bull feathers...Blah, Blah, Blah. Sick of all of them.
    Karma will be a big pay back when election time comes

    October 3, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Cathy

    Of course they are donating their checks, it's a tax right off, it benefits them.

    October 3, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Vena Lapping

    Remember those names for then next election....Sometimes you wonder if their real motive for office is to get all the FAT benefits from the government.....5 star healthcare, perks, Big retirement.......who wouldn't want this......and now they are driving our country into the ground............CLEAN HOUSE and start over in November.......#disgusted

    October 3, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Mikey

    Only a sacrifice for those not accepting the paycheck or returning it to the Treasury. The rest will just donate the same amount they always do, to their personal PAC "charitable trust", eventually pocket the money, and claim it all came out of the one or two paychecks during the slim-down. They will just donate less out of their other blood money. Typical politician smoke and mirrors, except for those actually giving the money back to the Treasury or not accepting the checks.

    October 3, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Where does Congressman Rogers from Michigan stand.

    October 3, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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