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. Tampa Tim

    The repubs need to donate 5 years of their salary for screwing up our country.

    October 3, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. DasMetal

    This is ridiculous... All of those names shouldn't say donating or not accepting or accepting. They should all say 'Not Paid Until Further Notice'! As a government employee, I'm considered as essential personnel. Not because I'm some legislator's little desk troll, but because I risk my life everyday to defend the Constitution and the people of this country. I'm not being paid, though. I must show up to work, which is 94 miles away, because to live where I work would be insane and extremely unsafe, all on my dime. If nothing is done, and fairly soon, I will not be able to go to work. I will not be able to even show up to work for free simply because I won't be able to put gas in my car so my son can have food on the table. It isn't just me who deals with this. It's every gov't employee's family that has to deal with this. I can't believe I'm forced to deal with a situation like this. It's even worse that millions of Americans have to deal with this too.

    October 3, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. $157,000 per year salary

    These guys are fine without a few paychecks. They are not living paycheck to paycheck like many Americans. They've sacrificed very little at the cost of American citizen's livelihood.

    October 3, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. checi

    You have to be rich to get elected and they are not in Washington for a paycheck. They are there for the power. So it's cynically quaint for some of them to refuse a "paycheck" when they know the big payola will come to them via corporate contracts when they are OUT of office. Meanwhile, those of us "essential" people who are required to come to work to steer airplanes around are working without PAY at all. We out here in the land of the great unwashed don't have rich friends to pay our mortgages and feed our kids.

    October 3, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    Aaron Poscovsky

    Time to cut government working staff and government offices in half.

    All our money goes to people, that live off off the working class.


    Yeah, and then when you get a voicemail the next time you have to call one of those offices you'll be whining about that!

    October 3, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Dee

    Thank you, CNN, for keeping an eye on our congresspeople and their pay! And, by all means, continue to update the list! It'll be invaluable in voting out the monsters who refuse to take the same medicine they're dishing out to the country's citizenry. If possible, it would be great if the list could be sorted alphabetically by last name and also by state. It also would be nice if CNN could publish a list of those who affiliated with the Tea Party since it timed and designed the fight to inflict maximum damage.

    October 3, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Frank V

    I bet the same Americans that are upset they are getting paid, will re elect them..

    October 3, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Dave

    if they donate to charity...are they claiming a tax write off? if not that's fine..if yes then they're liars...they'll get some of the money back...

    October 3, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Laurence

    What would Sponge Bob do?

    October 3, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Irrelevant

    Although their are many members who are deciding to donate or refused their pay check, I commend them for that jesture but that would only make a larger impact if they were in a position where they lived check to check like the average American. What is to happen to Sallie, John, or June who entire check is gone to bills and household upkeep before they even received it. Or how about Jane whose checking account is well over the negative expense allowed and she needs this weeks' check to cover the cost of overdraft fees. So once again I do applaud each and one of you for attempting to be a normal citizens, but when your salary is in the high six figures along with a spending allowance, you will never be able to relate to lower class citizens. Instead of donating to charities how about donating to a family who will receive a late charge on most of their essential bills this month rent, electric, utililies, or even unable to buy groceries.

    October 3, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. robert breisch

    Time for a new set of laws-If Congress cant balance the budget-they all go to jail.If Congress cant keep America running and safe-they all go to jail.If any politician accepts any PAC funding-the PAC and that member of Congress both go to jail.

    October 3, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Kevin Morris

    Had CNN not gotten involved and actually brought this article to light....I wonder if all the names would have been on the list ....I somehow doubt it.....check that!!! SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT......

    October 3, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Jodi

    Senator Mike lee from Utah, originally said in a KUTV2 news interview that he was keeping his check, but now he is listed as donating. I guess he changed his mind.

    October 3, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Me

    Don't be partisan by just asking where Boehner is on this list? They also left out Reid, Pelosi, McConnell, and Obama.

    October 3, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Who is doing your fact-checking
    They keep calling and calling the government offices to get confirmations and correct names but.....nobody's there to answer the phones.
    Government shutdown, dontchaknow.

    October 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. LBB

    I think we should start protesting loudly! These idiots can't even do their jobs! Let's give them something to think about...pissed Americans!!

    October 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Tim

    Why the hate for Federal Employees? Questioning and deriding elected officials who don't do there job is one thing, but why hate on someone who just has a job in public service who otherwise has no control over how much they make?

    October 3, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Nic

    This money is not theirs to donate or choose how to use during this time. Despite the law, which the majority of Americans would agree is inappropriate, this money should come back to the tax payers as a refund come tax season. The excuse that this is a law etc, needs to be addressed and changed.

    October 3, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Bob Costello

    Don't you think its about time the American wake up and get rid of these people and get someone in office for the people not them self.

    October 3, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. StephenJ

    Unclear what not accepting means here. Can they get it later? It will take legislative action to pay federal workers who are now furloughed for the time they were furloughed. Will it also take legislative action for the members of congress who are not accepting their pay to receive the pay they didn't accept? I sure hope the latter is the case.

    October 3, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Berni

    Sad part is, those who donate it to charity will write if off on their taxes next year!

    October 3, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. robert breisch

    how many Americans want to start a class action law suit against all of congress? If we get 1,000 to join such a suit-we can get all of Congress's salaries and put that wasted tax money into food for the poor!
    Lets start with say 1 trillion in damages-that ought to bankrupt the dirty supporters of Congress and eliminate a huge tax waste-salaries for all of the "exempt" members who retain their salary for sitting on their hands or stuffing their heads up the asses.

    October 3, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Angela

    I have one question of the Congresspeople donating their paychecks to charity: will they give that donation free and clear, or will they take it as a tax write-off – thereby lessening the amount of income tax they'll pay? If they take the write-off, was it really as selfless as it sounds?

    October 3, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. ES

    If you get on a plane flown by a pilot who is not receiving a paycheck, would you feel safe? Makes you think about TSA not receiving a paycheck and the public getting on planes. Human emotions break down and then there are holes in the system. While Congress battles and blames in the "hall of shame", Americans are shutting down financially and spiritually.

    October 3, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. NCState

    Mr. Coble how dare you keep your paycheck while so many fellow tarheels go without, at least the rest of the old north state delegation (Robert, Mark & Virginia) have the conviction to stand behind there misguided vote to shutdown the government.

    October 3, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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