Shutdown Solidarity: Lawmakers Pledge to Give Up Pay Until Government Reopens

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas J. Scott Applewhite/AP

This story has been updated and now includes more than 75 House members and senators.

Roughly 900,000 federal employees have been furloughed due to the government shutdown. There is no guarantee they will ever be compensated for their forced time off; retroactive pay would require congressional action. Members of the Senate and House -- mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans as well -- have put forth legislation to ensure furloughed feds receive back pay. Those bills have yet to receive a vote.

Even excepted and exempted employees are forced to work without pay during the shutdown, but are guaranteed to receive pay once government is reopened.

Some think lawmakers should also take a hit, since Congress failed to pass spending bills to keep government open. A group of Republicans introduced a bill last week -- the Government Shutdown Fairness Act -- to prohibit lawmakers from receiving pay during a government shutdown. Because the 27th amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from adjusting its current pay, the bill would place all members’ salaries in an escrow account and pay them on the last day of the legislative session. It would also ban members from receiving pay in future sessions.

A group of Democrats introduced a similar bill -- the No Government, No Pay Act -- this week.

Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers have volunteered to give up their pay. Here is a list of those who have said they will refuse pay for as long as the shutdown continues: 

Senate:

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio -- Brown will donate his pay to charity during the shutdown. 
  • Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. -- “Congress does not deserve to be paid while the gov’t is shut down,” Coons tweeted.
  • Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho -- “Members of Congress should not get paid while federal employees are furloughed,” Crapo said. 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas -- Cruz, who gave a 21-hour speech to block the Senate’s continuing resolution, said “elected leaders should not be treated better than the American people,” adding he would donate his pay to charity.
  • Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. -- Enzi said he plans to “send back” his pay during the shutdown.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- Graham will donate his salary to the Wounded Warrior Project, he announced in a YouTube video.
  • Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. -- “I also want you to know that I have pledged to donate any pay I receive during the shutdown to a charitable organization,” Hagan wrote in a message to constituents.
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. -- Heitkamp will donate her pay to charity, her communications director tweeted.
  • Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar -- Klobuchar tweeted she will donate her pay to the NIH Foundation “since shutdown is slashing med research.”
  • Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho
  • Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. -- “With thousands of folks on furlough, including a significant portion of my own staff, I will be donating my shutdown salary to charity,” Scott said. “Members of Congress should not be given preferential treatment, period.”
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. -- Shaheen tweeted that she will donate her pay to a New Hampshire food bank.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. -- “As long as furloughed federal employees are not getting paid during this shutdown, I will refuse my paycheck too,” Toomey said.

House:

  • Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. -- “I will stand with federal employees who have been furloughed and refuse to accept my pay until the shutdown is resolved,” Barber said in a statement, adding he will donate his salary to charities in southern Arizona.
  • Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky. -- Barr will donate his salary to local Kentucky charities.
  • Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif. -- “If Congress can’t do its job and put the American people first, then they certainly shouldn’t get paid during a crisis that they are causing,” Bera said.
  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. -- Black will donate her salary to the Wounded Warriors Project. 
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. -- “No small business would pay someone who refuses to do their job,” Buchanan said. “So Why should senators or House members be paid for failing to fulfill one of their most basic responsibilities? They shouldn’t.”
  • Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. -- "Because many of my constitutents are furloughed, I requested my paycheck be withheld until #shutdown is resolved,” Bustos tweeted. 
  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. -- “After the shutdown ends, I will donate this portion of my salary to charity,” Capito said. 
  • Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah -- “To my wife, Julie, this is the right thing to do,” Chaffetz wrote on his Facebook page. “I know you will understand, as always.”
  • Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Co. -- Coffman said he will refuse to accept a salary during the shutdown, and will donate his pay to the Denver Red Cross for flood relief
  • Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y. -- Collins, the author of the Government Shutdown Fairness Act, told the House Clerk to withhold his pay during the shutdown.
  • Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. -- “Elected leaders shouldn't be treated better than hardworking Arkansans, so I will donate my salary to charity for each day the government is closed," Cotton said. 
  • Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. -- Davis wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer to request his pay be withheld.
  • Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. -- Delaney will donate “portions of his congressional salary” to charity
  • Rep. Suzan Delbene, D-Wash. -- “For as long as this unnecessary shutdown occurs, hundreds of thousands of public servants will be working without pay,” Delbene said. “When sequestration began earlier this year, I returned 8.2% 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.”
  • Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill. -- Enyart will donate his salary to a food bank in his district
  • Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. -- Fitzpatrick said he would refuse his salary while the government is shutdown.
  • Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc. -- Duffy has asked the House’s chief administrative officer to withhold his salary.
  • Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas -- Flores will donate his salary to “reduce our federal debt.”
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii -- Gabbard will return her pay to the Treasury. “If a common-sense agreement is not reached, our hard-working troops, law enforcement and other essential personnel will continue to report for duty while receiving no pay, leaving their families at home with nothing but uncertainty,” she said.
  • Rep. Pete Gallego, R-Texas -- Gallego will donate his pay to charity, saying it is “unconscionable” for members of Congress to receive a paycheck while federal employees are furloughed.
  • Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga. -- Gingrey, who infamously said he was “stuck” in Congress making $172,000 a year, asked for his salary to be withheld.
  • Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. -- Lujan Grisham will donate her pay to a New Mexico charity that works to eradicate homelessness for military veterans.
  • Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii -- Hanabusa will donate her pay to charity. 
  • Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. -- “I asked the House to revoke my salary until Congress passes and the President signs an acceptable solution to fund the federal government,” Hultgren said.
  • Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan.
  • Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio -- “I refuse to profit from the stupidity and mule-headed culture of modern-day Washington, D.C.," Johnson said. 
  • Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.
  • Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash. -- “I believe in leading by example,” Kilmer said. “If Congress can’t get its act together to stop a government shutdown, then I don’t believe members of Congress should be paid.”
  • Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis. -- Kind has asked House’s chief administrative officer to withhold his salary.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. -- As a “matter of fairness for furloughed workers,” Kinzinger will give up his pay until the government reopens.
  • Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho
  • Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J.
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.
  • Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. -- Mullin said he has excepted all the employees in his office, and to offset the costs he “will return back to the Treasury any of my pay received while the government is shut down.”
  • Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. -- Mulvaney wrote a letter to the House’s chief administrative officer to request his pay be withheld.
  • Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla. -- Murphy will donate his pay during the shutdown to the Renewal Coalition to assist wounded veterans. 
  • Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas -- Neugebauer asked the House clerk to suspend his pay.
  • Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn. -- Nolan introduced the No Government, No Pay Act to prohibit members of Congress from receiving pay during a shutdown.
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas -- “I will join the men and women in our district who will be affected by the shutdown and I will not take a paycheck,” O’Rourke said in a message to constituents.
  • Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich.
  • Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif. -- “I do not believe that the leadership failure of the Republican majority can subject 800,000 workers to furloughs, and countless Americans to service delays and closures, while I collect a paycheck,” Peters said.
  • Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C. -- Pittenger has also said he will refuse federal subsidies for his health care.
  • Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. -- “While I won't be taking my salary,” Polis said, “rest assured that unlike other federal employees, the members of Congress responsible for this shutdown will not have any delay in their paychecks whatsoever, even if the shutdown continues for weeks or months.”
  • Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa.
  • Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.  
  • Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C. -- Sanford will donate his pay to charity.
  • Rep. Brad Schnieder, D-Ill. -- “In the real world, when people don’t do their jobs, they don’t get paid,” Schneider said.
  • Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. -- “I firmly believe that if members of Congress fail to perform their most basic duty in passing a budget, then they do not deserve to be paid,” Schrader said. “It is in that vein that I will be donating the congressional salary I collect during the shutdown to a local Oregon charity to be named later.”
  • Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho
  • Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo. -- Smith tweeted he will refuse pay during the shutdown: “It’s about #FairnessForAll.” 
  • Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio -- “It is unacceptable for members of Congress to be paid during a government shutdown,” Stivers said.
  • Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. -- “In a shutdown, many fed workers will work without pay,” Swalwell tweeted. “But I’m paid. That’s wrong. I won’t take pay til they get theirs.”
  • Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. -- “I don’t believe this debate should come at the expense of a functioning government, or the pay and benefits of hundreds of thousands of Americans, or the strength of our economy,” Tsongas said. “I also will not accept a pay check for the duration of the government shutdown.” 
  • Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. -- “Until a compromise is reached, I am refusing to accept my salary,” Valadao said.
  • Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo. -- “As a result of partisan bickering and gridlock, I have waived my salary for the duration of the government shutdown because congress didn’t get the job done,” Wagner said.
  • Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. -- “Hardworking families are suffering because of the uncompromising, reckless attitude of a few rigid ideologues in Washington,” Walz said. “That isn’t right and it isn’t fair. That is why I will donate my pay to charity.”
  • Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio -- Wenstrup will donate his pay to local Ohio charities to help wounded veterans and hungry families. 
  • Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va. -- Wittman will donate his pay to charity.
  • Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind. 
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