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Posted: October 01, 2013

Shutdown: Why Congress gets paid and federal staff don't

By Zach Toombs

With the government shut down, most federal employees will have paychecks delayed or be sent home — 800,000 workers are furloughed. But the lawmakers responsible for the shutdown still get their money because, well, that’s the law.

That’s because salaries for most federal workers, everyone from staff at national zoos to bureaucrats in Washington, are funded through annual appropriations — the money Congress failed to allocate by its Oct. 1 deadline. (Via Travel ChannelNBC)

But salaries for Senators and Representatives, and for the president, are actually written into permanent law. Members of the House and Senate will keep taking home their annual $174,000 paycheck. (Via The White House)

House Speaker John Boehner’s $223,500 salary will remain intact.

And the president’s $400,000 in earnings will also go untouched. (Via The White House / Pete Souza)

Now, the 27th Amendment says Congress can’t alter those numbers until the beginning of a new term — that’s to keep lawmakers from giving themselves a raise just before leaving office.

But a few lawmakers are still finding ways to empathize with furloughed workers. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is donating his salary during the shutdown to Honor Flight. (Via YouTube / Sherrod Brown)

While Texas Sen. John Cornyn’s office said he won’t accept his paycheck during the shutdown. (Via YouTube /John Cornyn)

Actually, the list is quite long. The Washington Post counted at least 25 other members of Congress who have given up their salary in one way or another. 


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