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. Freddo

    I'd be really angry with Tom Coburn if I was from Oklahoma.

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Don't Fall for it!

    They should not have the option to donate, keep, or not accept. The impacted American families don't have that option. Their paycheck were just taken away! They should have their paychecks stripped from them. They will just claim the donation on their taxes. If they are so fortunate to be able to donate their paychecks, then they should donate to the American families that will not be getting a paycheck because of their stupidity.

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Marcus

    Graham: Not only are the numbers about even, more Dems are actually donating or not accepting. Statistically speaking, you have to take into account the fact that there are more Republicans in congress (278, to be precise, vs. 252 Democrats). While it's true that there are two more Republicans either donating or not accepting their pay, that's only 14.4% of all Republicans, as opposed to the 15.1% of Democrats.

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. monbois

    Can we have a national referendum to pass a law preventing members of Congress from getting paid in these situations? And once the crisis is over, they can't receive that pay retroactively, either. Once it's gone, it's gone!

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Kathleen Reed

    Where are the rest of them? This list is very incomplete.

    October 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. Dot Charland

    Stop blaming the Republicans. There is plenty of blame to go around.
    The Democrats are equally to blame and so is the man in the White House.
    Is he not accepting his paycheck.

    October 3, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. US Citizen

    OMG, do they really think the average American can't see this is just for show, they want to appear they care. The only thing the GOP cares about is their agenda. I do believe change is needed but not at the cost of the middle class and the poor, the rich keep getting richer. There has to be a better way to solve our problems. One would be to keep rich special interest groups out of politics.

    October 3, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Charles

    I am going to change my name to charity so I can get paid.

    October 3, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. J Foster

    Why should these elected official get paid ? Special interest groups are always hanging around to make their life comfortable for their vote against the American people. The people have bale out and paid for much (savings and loans, war after war, Corp mortgage baleouts,banks on and on. They and their families get insurance nice schools at the expensive of their pitiful American servants. After 48 years of voting I have seen good sevants of the people and these are at the bottom of the roiten apple drum. They are all talk and theirselves as if that is going to solve problems. As long as it is your child and not mine let's go to war mentality. Along as it is you or your child who cannot get medical treatment,no employment or eat ...its damn OK

    October 3, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Organic1

    The ONLY way they show they care is to write the check back to the government, if they donate the pay to charities they still get write off credit, which is like getting it back on the refund check. This congress is disgusting.

    October 3, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Alex Jerez

    "When the rich wage war, is the poor who die" – Jean Paul Satre..."America is not made of a bunch of gangsters pile up in a building. We are better than that" Alex Jerez...

    October 3, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Dorothy

    Yes they are giving their paychecks away – but they are still getting paid regardless if they keep it or not

    October 3, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. iceload9

    Doesn't "not accepting" just mean they hold the check till this is over then they get their back pay unlike the furloughed employees?

    October 3, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Grouch

    This means nothing. There are SOME representatives that actually live on their salaries. Of course the vast majority get rich by insider trading.

    October 3, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. jasonn13

    "CNN reached out to all 533 current members of Congress about their paycheck plans."

    Sure, but CNN is totally ignoring the National Park Service putting up "Barrycades" to close Mount Vernon, which is PRIVATELY OWNED, , another example of how the feds are deliberately worsening the government shut down. Looks to me like CNN has degenerated into the "Ministry of Information" for the Obama White House instead of being an independent news organization.


    October 3, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. Dadzooks

    This list shows who needs to be voted out first, those keeping and undecided. Nice to follow-up with those who claim to be donating.

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. JeffreyRO5

    The GOP should be tried for treason for this shutdown stunt!

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. VEW2012

    Vote out the obstructionist GOP 2014! The Affordable Healthcare Act is a legally passed and signed law. This president has had two mandates from two elections that he won by a super majority both times.

    So, I don't want my tax dollars to fund wars, subsidies for Fortune 500 companies, and farm subsidies for big corporate farms including those owned by members of Congress....where is my choice to pick and choose?

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Clara

    Congress is not showing leadership. Shame on them!!!

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. larry kouns

    so the numbers are about equal who cares? go find a real story.

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. carol green

    Laws are and were meant to be made and broken.....this is no different. Since CONGRESS are the ones that are creating this fiasco, "no paycheck" should apply to them as well. There is nothing in the Constitution that says that this law cannot be amended or changed. Who cares who is donating their paycheck(s) or not? The fact still stands that it sends a bad message to the people in our country. As the old saying goes "what's good for the goose, is good for the gander". Rest assured the U.S. is the only country that this would happen in.....I could be wrong though but I've never heard or read anything where a country's government has been shut down due to not balancing a budget and the lawmakers are still getting paid while others aren't.

    October 3, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Southern Comfort

    Tax write offs... those not accepting pay are the only ones doing the right thing in this. No pay, no benefits, no maids, no public speaking fees – take those away and they'll feel the pinch just a wee bit.

    October 3, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. rbtroj

    I have a sibling who is a federal employee and works for an agency that must continue to work without pay – there is just no option to put their kind of work "on pause" while the children in Washington continue to play make-believe. Now this impacts me even though I am not a government employee because I need to help out my sibling while this goes on. And, since both of us were sharing the costs of supporting our parents, that, too, now falls to me until the wanna-be student council rejects from high school pretend to be competent. And I do not believe for a second that I am in any way unique. I'm convinced that scenarios like mine are playing out all over America while this goes on. Granted, we're in the first week and this could all be over in a matter of hours, if the talking monkeys in Congress would do the right thing instead of the political thing. I wish I had known 25 years ago that the cliquey kids in student council would be the same ones running our country today. Seriously, two of my former fellow alumns are now in Congress, and the only reason they entered student council in high school was for the popularity, not to learn anything about leadership or governing. Having come from a pretty average slice of America, I assume such was the case at the majority of high schools across America. So multiply the two of them by 267 and you've got a congress filled with argyle-wearing preppies trying to get invited to play golf with each other. And woe to the ones who actually might be trying to do the right thing – you are unfortunately so ineffective that you may as well be the same as the rest of your bake-sale organizing colleagues.

    October 3, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. g

    time to redo their pay scales for part time work, cut in half 3000 plus a week .the tax payers should be setting their pay .

    October 3, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Kathleen Reed

    Where is Boehner?

    October 3, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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