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Some lawmakers donating or refusing pay amid shutdown

By Matthew F. Smith 2:23 AM October 2, 2013

Alaska’s lawmakers not among more than 100 congressional members forgoing pay while government is shut down

As Congress continues the showdown over the shutdown, a growing number of senators and representatives are giving up their pay as more than 800,000 federal workers face furloughs without paychecks.

The Washington Post has been tracking the 100 senators and the 435 house reps, each making at least the constitutionally mandated $174,000 a year from their office (House Speaker John Boehner, for example, is paid more).

Those salaries are still being paid amid the shutdown, because the jobs of Congress members (as well as the president and vice president) are constitutionally protected, and are paid for with mandated funds. The money used to operate most federal agencies, and pay the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who run them, require congressional appropriation. Congress has not approved those funds, which are at the heart of the partial shutdown ongoing for two days as of Wednesday.

As of Wednesday night, just over 100 lawmakers (split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans) had pledged to either refuse their pay during the shutdown, or donate their pay to charities.

Alaska Senator Mark Begich said Tuesday that his office is also feeling the pain from the shutdown.

“I’m not exempting my office from this process,” he said, adding that “75 to 85 percent of my workforce will be furloughed while we figure this out.”

“That is not the right way to run a government, but I’m not going to exempt ourselves from this situation,” Begich added.

After multiple emails and phone calls Wednesday, neither Senator Lisa Murkowski nor Representative Don Young today answered questions about how the shutdown impacted their staff or their pay.

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