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Some U.S. lawmakers give up pay while shutdown grinds on

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) departs the Senate floor after a late-night vote rejected budget legislation from the Republican-controlled
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (C) departs the Senate floor after a late-night vote rejected budget legislation from the Republican-controlled

By Gabriel Debenedetti

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Over one hundred U.S. senators and representatives have pledged to give up or donate their pay during a government shutdown that has put up to one million federal workers out of work.

While lawmakers continue to spar over a possible shutdown resolution, the Washington Post compiled a list of officials ranging from Senate leaders to little-known members of the House of Representatives who have signed onto the movement.

The partial government shutdown began on Tuesday as House Republicans sought to undercut President Barack Obama's signature healthcare plan by tying it to a resolution that funds the government. Parts of the Obama-backed Affordable Care Act also began to be implemented on Tuesday, and Democrats have refused to negotiate over its future.

Some of the highest-profile lawmakers from both political parties will not be keeping their government paychecks for the foreseeable future.

Republican Ted Cruz, the Texas senator whose 21-hour filibuster helped set the stage for the standoff, pledged on Monday to donate his salary to charity during the shutdown.

House Speaker John Boehner, the Ohio Republican leading his party's efforts, will turn down his paycheck, while the House majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia will put his pay aside in escrow until the shutdown is resolved, according to the Washington Post.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada will do the same as Cantor, and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will give his own money to charity.

While some lawmakers are gaining positive publicity for declining salary while federal employees go without paychecks, not all of Capitol Hill's richest denizens have joined in.

Senators and representatives make $174,000 per year - more if they are in various leadership positions - but some officials have considerable personal wealth.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, fifteenth on Roll Call's 2013 list of the 50 Richest Members of Congress with a net worth of nearly $25 million, has not said if she will turn down her money, and her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The richest member of Congress, Republican representative Darrell Issa, already gives his entire Congressional salary to charity, his office said. The Roll Call list reports the California lawmaker's net worth as over $355 million due largely to his successful car alarm business.

Republican representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the second-wealthiest member on the list with a net worth of $114 million, plans to donate his earnings to charity, his office told Reuters.

(Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Marilyn W. Thompson and Jackie Frank)

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