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