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. Frustrated

    No one in congress should be paid, period! Why is congress an exemption to the tens and thousands of public servants not getting paid during this shutdown and worried about what tomorrow brings. Donate? I won't lay down a penny...

    October 3, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Threecats100

    Ha, ha, ha. Those good people donating to charities-then using it as a tax right off on their income taxes!!! What a joke!

    October 3, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Maadmax

    They should be given up their pay checks and divided them up among the 800,000 furlough Government Employees. You would think these Politicians use common sense, they are becoming exactly like the people our United States of America protects it's self from. The power of "We The People" are at the POLLS! Enough is enough!!

    October 3, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. wanttoknow

    my question is, did they already get paid for this month? if so what paycheck are they donating, not taking or keepig? next month? the one that was already direct deposited into their account?

    October 3, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Pamela Myrick-Mottley

    It's shameful that they are being paid at all. They have the option of making a choice when other government workers have no choice. They have made themselves a shamefully, privileged group. They are certainly no longer servants of the people.

    October 3, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Sherryl Roberts

    BS! How will I as an average Federal worker know if they actually did it or not. My bill collectors are calling. You grown men and women need to hurry up and figure this stuff out!

    October 3, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Delos

    When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
    -Thomas Jefferson

    October 3, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Joseph A. Boucher

    An empty gesture from false patriots.
    It is time for them to go.

    October 3, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Tammy

    How about instead of 'donating' or 'not accepting' they pick a department that's been furloughed and provide those folks with their regular paycheck.

    October 3, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. william reeder

    what really upsets me is that everybody is that they are pointing the finger saying its there fault including the president (he has not admitted) to any wrong doing on any of this its about time they all get together and come up with what is good for the American people period put on your big boy and girl pants and get this done they get paid while a lot of the people in this country get the royal SHAFT that's what I think CONGRESS AND SENATE GET ON THE BALL NOWGET THIS RESOLVED

    October 3, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Mike

    If they're doing this to ease their consciences because they failed to earn this money then they need to do the same with every penny they've been paid up till now.

    October 3, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Sue

    Where's Boehner and McConnell's names?

    October 3, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Name

    I still don't understand this shutdown, maybe if I heard both sides of the story...

    October 3, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They're "donating" their checks to the RNC or DNC or their grannies.

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Sue

    And Pelosi's and Reid's?

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Steve J.

    Charity ? Really ? Since when the country clubs ( or strip clubs ) in DC become "charities"? They can say "giving to charity" all they want, but until they actually SHOW PROOF of their donation.. Don't believe a single word that comes from them. "I'm giving a donation to charity", yet then when the media or other agency requests PROOF of such, they spin it off & change the subject..

    IT IS TIME FOR A REVOLUTION !!! As Ventura stated the other night on a show... "Revolutions don't always have to be bad or deadly".. ITS TIME AMERICA !!... REVOLT 2014 !!!

    October 3, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Pamela

    We are sick of Republicans holding our country hostage for the sake of eliminating ACA. Nice they get full coverage healthcare provided by us taxpayers, but don't let citizens have the same perks. There will be time to modify and make the affordable health care act better over time. This is not the correct way to proceed with trying to eliminate something that was already passed and supported by our legal system. They should of been using their energies making the ACA better. Also, everyone should be included in the ACA healthcare system. No special outs for congress, president, federal workers, or unions...

    October 3, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. jinxy

    All the money in these paychecks should be split up and sent to all the people who are out of work during the shutdown.

    October 3, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. JW

    What about our President and Vice-President salaries?

    I do not wish any ill-will on any of the government workers that have been told to stay home, it does not make any business logic for them to recieve back-pay when they come back to work for the time they spent at home. What would the logic be? Why not let them keep working?

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Hank

    That is the basic problem–none of them needed their paycheck to survive if they did, our nation would not be in this mess–we the people have accepted mediocrity in our government politicians; very unfortunate–remember this next time when you vote–God Bless America//

    October 3, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. JonFL239

    If they do not accept a pay check, then they are terrible people that should have donated it!! If they donate a pay check, then they are terrible people that just want a tax write off!!! If they do nothing and accept a pay check, then they are terrible people that should not have accepted one!!! This is an endless circle. A nice "damned-if-you-do; damned-if-you-don't" situation.

    October 3, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Brad Pitt

    And were suppose to believe this?

    I will never vote again!

    October 3, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. prayfast2

    (Eyeopener) People have to live pay check to paycheck. It does not make me feel better or comfortable when you make a token move out of guilt. The fact that these guys are can just give a pay check away and say see I am a good guy is an insult to people who have to scrape to get by everyday. I wonder how many of them would be there without the money and the perks of office?

    October 3, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Steve J.

    How about donating BACK to the American people, that sound likes wonderful charity... I'm certain we could ALL use that money back that we are paying them to sit on their butts & doing nothing for. How about a nice TAX FREE paycheck, how about a refund check for EVERY AMERICAN that is paying for these IDIOTS to argue.. Now THAT would be a great charity & PROVE they mean what they say about not taking pay or donating..

    Would also help the economy since we could ALL use the extra money to go out & HELP the economy rather than stifling it with all the BS going on in DC.. TALK IS CHEAP & that's all the MORONS in DC are good for.. CHEAP TALK !!

    October 3, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Carl

    The people in this country need to wake up. This entire group of clowns should be purged in the next elections. There should be no amnesty or forgetting how all these self serving idiots have done there jobs the last 15 years

    October 3, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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