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. samsart

    Just more evidence of the arrogance and depth of their contempt for the American public. They are above the laws they enact, and they are in no way affected by the shenanigans they engage in ; nice to know that they are doing everything they can to serve the needs of the lobbyists and big business that supplants their incomes.

    October 3, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Joe

    So basically... I'm seeing at least large portion are either donating or not accepting checks. Yet... the headline says "Congress still accepting checks during shutdown"

    Isn't that a tad misleading?

    October 3, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Ed from Maine

    The House Republicans that shut down so many important parts of the government are – terrorists from within – plain and simple.

    If a foreign terrorist entity was able to blow up the Center for Disease Control for example – America would lash out at them with all her might. But somehow, a portion of our very own government is crippling our country and our economy and we let them get away with it. These Republican House members are doing the work of foreign terrorists with no accountability what so ever.

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. bonnie

    Some have to go to work and not get paid until they decide when they want to pay. How long until they come out with a solutiona? Days.. weeks.. months. My family can not afford that. This is not to mention all the babies, children, and elderly who will have to face hardships over lack of ethics, communication, and understanding from the congress. Whether we vote republican, or democratic we vote to have them be out there to stand up for us.

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Name Fair

    If the public must suffer by losing their pay. Then congress should feel the same loss. But why should congress care. They have enough money to not worry about losing their homes, lights, child care or feeding themselves and their children. We as rhe public need to mqke a complete over haul of our congress and house reps. Out with the old

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Dr. Who?

    They never comes to an agreement with each others and their paid should be suspended too! They're all hopeless baboons!.

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Gimcy

    Big deal. Almost none of them need the money anyway.

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. MNPride

    Never mind you got it now thanks :)

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. morgan solomon

    I believe that these prople that we vote in office are looking out for themselves,they need to stop.And reopen our government,they need to remember who voted them in office are the people that are hurting.

    October 3, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. danman

    Who cares? CNN, stop rabble-rousing with irrelevancies. I can't stomach that you're using your largest headline font for this homepage "story" about who's keeping their salary. You can't possibly believe this is a story, or relevant, or essential reporting. We have real problems, and we need real reporting about substantive issues, not this tabloid journalism. News is not defined by what is "juiciest" but what's most important. Your job is to know the difference, not to be a clone of Buzzfeed.

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Chester

    JCL comment said so right on Oct 3, 10:08am.
    "There are much more desperate people in government jobs who wont get their 800 dollars this week and really need it."
    Those who donate or dont accept the paychecks have no worries for their medical bills, mortgage payment, children education expense or other bills.

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. Anonymous

    CNN, perhaps you should review this list of "senators" before posting as national news. Texas Senators are John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Joaquin Castro and Bill Flores are House Reps. I'm sure there are other mistakes in this list. What happened to fact checking???

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Mashenka

    Did CNN ask Obama if he is going to keep his Paycheck? I also wonder if he is paying for all those golf games out of our pocket?

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Autumn Bacorn

    They need to freeze their bank accounts so they cant pay their bills either its not fair that those who have to report to work and never know if they are getting paid for that time.

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. sheikyerboutie

    I'm sorry but by not accepting a paycheck, the money still goes back into the government. Which doesn't help anyone. It should be a law that if the government shuts down they don't get a paycheck. Most are probably millionaires anyway

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. lewtwo

    "America's enemies are cheering" - that would include the Tea Party.

    October 3, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. WMesser58

    how impressive the rich putting on a show that doesn't help any of the people that they caused. I wonder if these gracious people are since they aren't leaving pay check to pay check. and their health insurance is far greater than those they represent.

    Here's novel idea do what they are suppose to have done in the first place and fix the incompetent and disgraceful way they have let the people down by not doing their job in the first place. Instead of donating or not accepting any money which, they haven't earned let them use it to pay the innocent people they are hurting and who had nothing to do with their incompetence.

    October 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Brandon

    They need to not take pay. Period. Easy for them to vote against healthcare when they have some of the best in the nation for life. All of them are a bunch of hipicritical thugs.

    October 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Aaron

    Is anyone else wondering about the other 452 names not in this list?

    October 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Gerry

    What a sacrifice by the rich members of congress! If they really wanted to do something meaningful to insure the success of the Health Care Act they should voluntarily enroll themselves and their families in the Govt Exchanges. And it would be nice if Federal workers were paid like the Congressmen and Senators and ALL should be subject to the laws passed.

    October 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. yogi

    I seriously doubt if the public really give a damn about their paychecks. We just know that it's a shame that we are in this situation. Senate and House can probably survive without a paycheck. Many of us are living on paycheck to paycheck every month. Thanks to our greate economy.

    October 3, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. Eddie Quinn

    Look at all the "non-essential" employees that have been furloughed. Government is too big, costs too much. No one wants pencil pushing bureaucrats involved in what should be a strictly patient/doctor decision. Some may hurt now, because of the shutdwon, but more will hurt later and they will hurt more severely if the budget is not cut and Obama care is not defunded. This vote will affect people from every state, as well as generations to come. I could care less the name of the political party, all this borrowing and spending needs to be trimmed. If a government shutdown will result in by trimming – by all means, Shut it down!

    October 3, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Disgusted!

    Congratulations America! Glad you voted in Obama?!

    October 3, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Wendy

    Man, I'm glad I can sleep better now knowing they are giving up a little something. Oh wait, most of them don't have to worry about money anyway because that's how they got into public office! They were already rich. (I said most – NOT ALL!) I don't believe ANY of them truly care about any of us or our government or our country. When lawmakers first started, it was a volunteer basis and they all had "real" jobs. It should go back to that and see how fast they all disappear.

    October 3, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. David in Houston

    One thing to point out: A paycheck is fungible, meaning if I have $10,000 in my bank account and get a $3,000 pay check, my balance is $13,000. Now, if I give away $3,000, was that my paycheck or some of my previously earned money. My point is, you have to "keep" your paycheck to give it away and lawmakers are on the donor lists already becuase it is good for appearances. That makes it very easy to say "I'm donating my whole paycheck".

    October 3, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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