House members plan to accept paychecks even if government shuts down

With the threat of a government shutdown looming, thousands of federal workers could lose their paychecks for the days the government is out of commission. But the 535 members of Congress who earn $174,000 a year-plus can expect their direct deposits to continue uninterrupted.

The Senate last month passed a stand-alone bill to withhold pay from members of Congress in case of a shutdown, but the House has yet to take the measure to the floor. Instead, Republican leaders attached similar language to a bill it passed last week, but the two chambers haven’t come to an agreement that would turn the bill into a law.

So it’s up to the members to decide what to do with the $476.71 they earn every day the government is in shutdown mode.

Enter West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who will donate his earnings back to the U.S. Treasury during a shutdown. He’s urging his colleagues to do the same, or to donate it to charity.

The Daily Caller made a sweep through the House on Thursday to find out if any House members planned to take Manchin up on his challenge.

Few are.

Renee Ellmers, Republican of North Carolina

“I plan on working, first of all, with or without a salary,” Ellmers said. “That’s honorable for those individuals who are doing that, but I need my paycheck.”

Average Salary in North Carolina: $39,420

Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota

TheDC: “What are you planning to do with your salary if there is a shutdown?”

Ellison: “Ha! Ha! Ha! I’ll talk to you later.”

Average Salary in Minnesota: $44,940

Blake Farenthold, Republican of Texas

Farenthold: “I don’t have a problem with that, I didn’t take this job for the salary.”

TheDC: “So you’re open to it?”

Farenthold: “Yeah, I just hadn’t thought of it. Sounds like a good idea.”

Average Salary in Texas: $41,100

Alcee Hastings, Democrat of Florida

“I don’t have any plans to send anything to any charity or anything else,” Hastings said. “I don’t think there’s going to be a shutdown.”

Average Salary in Florida: $39,440

Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois

“I hadn’t thought about it. I intend to work,” Gutierrez said, and then asked for suggestions as to who he should donate the money to.

TheDC: “How about the Democratic National Committee?”

“They’re not getting it,” he said, laughing.

Average Salary in Illinois: $46,110

Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina

“We’ve already said we would do that,” Scott said. “I sent a text out [yesterday] to some folks that I know, identifying a couple of charities that for the number of days we’re shut down, it will go to a church or a charity.”

Average Salary in South Carolina: $37,040

Linda Sánchez, Democrat of Califonia

“I have to tell you that I live paycheck-to-paycheck, like most Americans,” Sánchez said during an MSNBC interview. “I’m still paying off my student loans. I have a 2-year-old son who I have to support, and I have to maintain residences on both coasts. It’s very difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I can give up my paycheck,’ because the reality is, I have financial obligations that I have to meet on a month-to-month basis that doesn’t make it possible for me.”

Pete King, Republican of New York

“I’m going to take it. I’ll be working,” he said. “You shouldn’t play games with salaries.”

Average Salary in New York: $50,790

Charlie Rangel, Democrat of New York

TheDC: “Some members are planning to donate their earnings to charity in case of a government shutdown. Do you plan to do that?”

Rangel: “I never heard anything like that.”

TheDC: “Would you be open to that?”

Rangel: “No. I didn’t know you were serious. I hadn’t heard of that. I’ll give it some thought.”

“If I’m going to make a statement, it has to be made on fact, and I don’t know the facts, and so I don’t want to chit-chat on tape about what could happen. I have said to you that just like with any piece of legislation, that you asking me yes or no on a concept. It would not be professional for me to be able to say anything without seeing.”

Dan Lungren, Republican of California

TheDC: “A couple members are talking about giving their salaries to charity in case of a shutdown. Do you have any plans like that?”

“God bless them!” Lungren said and walked away, ignoring a follow-up question asking if he would do the same.

Average Salary in California: $49,550

Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana

I’ve turned back salary increases before, and I believe I’d do that in this case.”

Average Salary in Indiana: $38,330

Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota

“I will personally be donating my pay to a non-profit organization serving our military families,” Bachmann said in a statement.

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  • Greg

    It is funny how some of them talked about needing their paycheck.  I am retired military with an annual pension much less than they make, yet they want to use my pay as a bargaining chip.  Can you say hypochritical?  “For the people”?  I think that was forgotten.

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  • robjh1

    They should forgo their paychecks if the government shuts down.

    “and we are not saved…”

  • HiTekRescu3

    Let us hope that in 2012 we each remind ourselves of the debaucle in that our elected officials are so selfishly disregarding that we as taxpayers and voters will be reviewing these actions as being counterproductive to our Nation’s health and welfare. WE should strongly send letters of censure to each of our respective Congressman and Representatives that WE WILL not forget the actions on next election day. It is encumbandt upon all of us to remind each other through out the year so that we do not forget that we were left out in the cold while the politicians took care of themselves.

  • Staunch Coloradoan

    I couldn’t agree more savage. These people are beyond shame. And shame on us if we continue to listen and abide by their continued lies and BS! 2012 cannot come soon enough for me, and I hope for the rest of America. At least those of us awake enough to see what’s really happening here. This battle to return this country to greatness is only getting started! We must work hard starting NOW to insure these people are as far away from governing us as we can send them. If I could I would have them all up on charges going back probably 30 years at this point. They have done nothing to secure our future or protect this country and deserve real JAIL TIME in my opinion. But of course they have already covered that…and exempted themselves from the same rules of law as the rest of us. So smart of them! We cannot work hard enough the next year and a half to be sure we are taken off this road to ruin. Let’s not stop encouraging our fellow citizens to wake up to where we’re going before it’s too late. God Bless America…and save us from these traitors!

  • llama

    Congress has finally done something to bring the country together – they have figured out a way to make us all like them even less.

  • SummerRain

    OK, let’s be clear. The whole system is rotten…..completely rotten. You have to clean out the whole ‘system’ & just start over.

    • Totzke


  • Iowa48

    Whoa, my dad and my grandpa always told me that we had to earn our living.
    Little did I suspect that all you had to do was become a politician and
    get money for nothing! I am real disappointed in my dad and grandpa for misleading me like that.

  • savage24

    Isn’t it amazing that the people that caused the shut down by not doing their job in the first place will be payed and the military that put their lives n the line will not. I find it very hard to feel anything but contempt for these self serving SOB’s.

    • virginiagentleman

      With ya all the way,savage24!!! Watching these so called reps. and senators at work makes me think they should be yelling, UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN! like the lepers they truly are. If you’ll kindly excuse me, I feel a sudden urge to take a shower.