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

    Come November's election, time to clean house.

    October 3, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. lean6

    Well, when you're living paycheck to paycheck, and your personal accountant knows how to exploit the tax code, you can defer your income and label this kind of stunt as honorable.

    October 3, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Deborah

    There are 100 senators, and hundreds of congressmen. This list is way too short. What about ALL of them?

    October 3, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Sabrina

    I proudly posted this article on my FB page for nearly a thousand to see. Everyone of these politicians need to "not accept" a paycheck. Geesh! They are such creepy, creepy, selfish people.

    October 3, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Frederick Hoefle

    Give me a break! What's Cruz, Rubio and Paul doing. I didn't see their names. Does anyone really think that any of these "representative's of the people" will forgo their pay-checks for long. And the ones that are "not accepting" will be cashing them as soon as this debacle is over.

    October 3, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Donalan

    I think they all should have there paychecks taken away, along with there health care and all the other perks they get. This country is such a mess and it all do to there incompetence!!!! When are we the American people going to smarten up? We as a people have become complacent as to what we expect from are VOTED IN political party's. SEND them all home for good.....

    October 3, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Miksters

    My spouse is an essential employee in the Justice department.. He was told he has to work, but there's no money so he won't get paid. How the heck does congress get a choice of deferring, keeping or donating their paychecks when we have NO CHOICE. This is an outrage.
    Odds are the furloughed employees will be paid when this mess all shakes out. Will my husband get some paid days off to equalize this injustice? Probably not.

    October 3, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Geek

    Why didn't they donate to the employees that will not get a paycheck?

    October 3, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Which members are part of the raucus caucus, the Tea Party?

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Ashley

    Their pay is protected by the 27th amendment. They will all be paid regardless.

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. r

    I realize you are working down a list and making contact but you should post the once not contacted yet and list them as currently unknown.
    I want to see where everyone falls.

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Fr33th1nk3r

    Ah, the GOP showing its true colors....notice how a vast majority of the "keeping their paychecks" group are Republicans?

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Dean

    Wondering why they get paid to begin with. They don't do anything.

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Tami

    Tim Scott – R. Senator from SC has announced he will donate.

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Megan

    Good job CNN..I'm impressed with this attempt. I wish our government officials, including the president thought like President John F. Kennedy, "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future." Sit down and work it out...NO, NO, NO is not a solution to ANY problem.

    October 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. chris

    They have to pay for this. This is ridiculous. Watch them fade away after this! Who needs em?

    October 3, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Name

    Congress Should Donate Their Paychecks To Furloughed Federal Employees Instead Of Charity...Donating To Charity Is A Tax Write-off And They Get That Back At The End Of The Year!!!

    October 3, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Uncle Sam

    Stop their pay, I am sure we will see a compromise sooner.

    October 3, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. chad dopiriak

    If we in the workforce do nothing in our jobs, we get no pay and have no jobs. Why should Washington officials get paid to do nothing. At this time all Americans should be relieved of paying taxes to a shutdown government. If they don't work why pay.

    October 3, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    They shutdown the government and are now asking to be congratulated for not accepting their own paychecks?
    Apparently voters eat this garbage up. Unreal
    Quite so Lynda. Voters do eat this crap up AND they'll re-elect this garbage in 2014 (well some of them will anyway).
    What this "announcement" has done is really, REALLY piss me off.
    How freaking dare they even THINK about keeping their paycheck much less keep it or "donate" it?
    How dare the leaders of Congress -the FLATULENT FOUR- fail to lead once again by accepting money that NONE of them need?
    This is nothing but a joke to many of them.
    Except for those that flat out refused their checks I don't wanna hear it!

    October 3, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. j dedonato

    Wow, These guys really mean business!!! Give me a break! You think these rich guys are so altruistic? They are always thinking about the next race to retain their toilet seats...

    October 3, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Namejerry cole

    Wow, solidarity? Must be nice to have so much money you can donate it. I am a furloughed, everyday that this continues the deeper the hole I have to climb out of. These Politicians are so out of touch. Donating your salary is a slap in the face of furloughed workers.

    October 3, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. bkgk78

    Donating to charity? They should be pooling it to pay those workers that are on indefinite unpaid leave because of their foolishness! Or return it to the treasury or pay towards american debt. From what I understand, the federal lawyers make the choice as to who gets paid during this furlough and who doesn't. Tell the lawyers to not pay them.

    October 3, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. mimi305

    nobody care if they give their money to charities or not. what this none sense GOP don't understand they will ever be president of unite state for a long time .. I m a independent I don't like none of them two party I only vote for those who care about this country .. if this guy ted cruz and Rubio or those who not favors Obama care they should come up with something , only thing I hear we don't like Obama care , we don't like Obama care lets repeal, lets repeal it. please give me a break . the American people vote for the same guy your said your don't like his health care American people don't care about your crap. if republican smart enough they will stand for something like say no to this non sense cruz or Rubio . those guy not republican the good republican stand for this country not destroy it. and like I said if you hit this country so much after this country from hell now the economic try is way out most people backed to work this ..shame on you ..

    October 3, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Charlotte Karp

    Dear Congressman Davis,

    I would like to begin my letter by telling you that you are a disgrace to great state of IL. While the national government is in the midst of a government shutdown and government employees are not being paid because of a collective ineptitude in Washington, you and every other member of Congress is. How unjust to guarantee a salary for yourself when you are the reason so many are going without pay or work. While many other representatives have chosen to either donate their salary or not take their salary in solidarity, you are taking yours home. You who have caused undo stress to so many in this country due to the House's inability to function, are taking home an undeserved salary. I am not in your district and you will most likely never read this. However, I hope you know that when I saw your name on the list of representatives taking their salary I was so again reminded of why politicians in Illinois are the worst of the worst. In the future I only hope that you can learn that you are representing the people of Illinois and it would do you well to step into their shoes for a change. You are elected to be in solidarity with your constituents. Please learn to do better.

    October 3, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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