More than 100 lawmakers are either turning down their pay or opting to donate it to charity during the government shutdown.
As of Wednesday night, at least 108 lawmakers have said they will not accept pay as long as the shutdown continues. Many said that they will donate that portion of their salary to various charities.
While 800,000 federal employees who aren't able to work because of the government shutdown are not being paid, members of Congress and the president and vice president are still receiving their pay as is required by the Constitution — since their salaries are paid from mandatory funds, not discretionary spending.
"No small business would pay someone who refuses to do their job," Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan said. "So why should senators or House members be paid for failing to fulfill one of their most basic responsibilities? They shouldn't?"
The Washington Post
has compiled a list of the 56 Republicans and 52 Democrats who have either refused their salary at this time or plan to donate it. The Post said it plans to keep the list up to date.
Announcements were made via congressional aides, Facebook, Twitter, statements made to the press or on the floor of the House or Senate, and emails to constituents. Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina made his statement on YouTube.
Some who have asked that their pay be withheld include House Speaker John Boehner, Republican Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Democrats in the Upper House who have done so include Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and GOP Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio and Ted Cruz of Texas say they will donate their salaries to charity. Democrat Sens. Diane Feinstein of California, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri have taken the same tack.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said they're putting their paychecks in escrow until the shutdown is over.
A spokesman for Cornyn said that the Texas Republican is having his pay withheld, but he won't be donating his salary to charity because he "does not believe a government shutdown should necessitate charitable contributions, compassion for fellow man should."
Several of the more wealthy lawmakers already donate their entire salary to charity including Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who is considered the wealthiest member of Congress.
Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington has had a portion of her salary withheld since sequestration began.
"When sequestration began earlier this year, I returned 8.2 percent of my salary back to the Treasury, and for the duration of this shutdown, I will return the remainder of my personal salary as well," DelBene said.
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