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. Columbus1

    So where's the Massachusetts delegation?

    October 3, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Kevin

    David Cicilline is not a senator. he is a congressman.

    October 3, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. JCL

    Anyone who is donating/not accepting is just saving themselves some tax dollars and trying to put forward a happy face to the public. These are people already worth millions of dollars. Not people who need 5k for the week of work. There are much more desperate people in government jobs who wont get their 800 dollars this week and really need it. That's who cnn and other news should be interviewing to get their take on this. Not the wealthy politicians who got us into this mess.

    October 3, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Robin

    How does donating your check to charity help those federal employees affected by Congress' ineptitude? Donating your check isn't going to help feed the family of a furloughed worker...

    October 3, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Jeff

    It is now the American voter's job to vote out all incumbents for the next 10 years and show them OUR power.

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Steve

    So, I'm someone from Illinois. Who else is on the wagon to get Danny Davis removed from office at the next election?

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. PJ

    It is interesting to see that Cruz, Rubio and Paul Ryan are not among those rejecting their paycheck. Bet they keep it while the hungry who can't afford bread are told to eat cake.

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. are122

    I think this country would be better off if it elected people that could not afford to give up a paycheck.

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Rod

    That all sounds good if taken at face value. But how do we verify that they actually do what they say they are going to do? No, I don't trust them enough to just take their word!

    And for those who actually choose to and do it only highlights another discrepancy between us and them that allows them to behave the way they do they have enough resources to skip checks indefinitely. While I can afford to miss a paycheck or two, going beyond that starts to impact me negatively.

    And lastly, where was my OPTION to accept or not accept my paycheck? Who can explain why the VA benefits that I earned through sacrificing my body during 24 years of active military service, are being threaten? Where was my OPTION to choose in that?

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. point_of_clarification

    Please update list headers. Senate (undecided) and House (accepting) are not in bold

    October 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. J

    Very noble. But when all the posturing is done, a budget will get passed, all the non essential workers will go back to work, they will get paid retroactively as history indicates and in the end they all wind up with three weeks of additional paid vacation at the expense of the taxpayers.

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  12. Metrosexuelf

    Here's an idea: donate your paycheck toward the furloughed federal employees who are paying the price for your incompetence.

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Itsjustme017

    What about the other article indicating that they got paid Monday (the day before the deadline) and will get paid again on the 31st, with the possibility of not having to give up anything? The article says they probably won't be 'giving up' anything, because they'll probably try to end this before their next check.

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. capnmike

    What's the difference? These millionaire bums are all so filthy rich that a few weeks or months of lost paychecks is like NOTHING to them. The only reason some aren't taking paychecks is so they can blather about what they "sacrificed"...just a bunch of spin, smoke and mirrors. What SHOULD happen is that they be fined $1 million a DAY for every day the gov't is shut down. THEN you'd see some action!

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. glades2

    Well, at least glad to read this news – as a fuloughed employee those of us who work for a living are suffering through this and it angered me that the wealthy as per usual are blind to the needs of the working class, but again I'm glad that at least with these elected officials almost all have decided to do the next right thing. Let's pray this ends before the weekend, because as even Congress knows Saturday is the end of the current pay period, so better to keep this within the pay period than have it spill over to the next and get OPM involved...

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Bee

    So, how do you "not accept" a paycheck if you have direct deposit? Also, I can say I'm donating my entire paycheck to charity, but how will you know? I want to see the list of charities and have someone follow up with these charities to see if actually occurred. This is ridiculous....

    October 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. KEver

    This article has 2 representatives from TX listed as Senators. Cruz and Cornyn are the Senators from TX. They aren't mentioned.

    October 3, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Where the rubber meets the road!

    I hope those that take their pay are on there way out, if not they should be voted out.

    October 3, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Most of these politicians are millionaires anyway. They should cough up a lot more.

    October 3, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. John

    Chris Coons is a senator from my state, Delaware, not Maryland.

    October 3, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  21. bob johnson

    just a note: diane black is a member of the house, not the senate from tennessee.

    October 3, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. ShawnDH

    I love how "fiscally responsible" Republicans have shut down the government for absolutely no reason...costing the US economy $300,000,000 a day. And they are threatening to default. It's so responsible to not pay your bills! Republicans. I don't get it.

    October 3, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. Joannelil

    Fire them all. Not showing up for work and destroying country. '

    October 3, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. Scott

    This is such a non-issue!

    Most of these folks are rich. They would not even NOTICE not getting their paychecks.

    THe focus here should not be on this trivial point; the focus should be how to get these clowns to start working together (or how to get them voted out in favor of folks that will).

    October 3, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Cole

    Diane Black -(R)Tennessee- is a member of the House of Representatives, not a Senator.

    October 3, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
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