Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is one of the most recent lawmakers to voluntarily forgo his paycheck for the duration of the partial government shutdown, which began Tuesday. According to the Washington Post, Congress “will continue to be paid and must be by law. That’s because their jobs are authorized by the U.S. Constitution and are paid with mandatory funds, not discretionary spending dependent on annual appropriations.” However, both Republican and Democrat members of Congress have announced that they will either have their paychecks voluntarily held or donated to charity while the shutdown is in effect.
At least 66 congressmen have decided to forgo their paychecks so far. Among them are Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex). Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky), who is also among those foregoing their paychecks, recently said, “Those who make the laws should have to live by those laws…” Many in Congress have made statements similar to Barr’s.
Among the charities being donated to are the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fun and the Wounded Warrior Project. Several congressmen have said they will be sending all or a portion of their paycheck to the U.S. Treasury. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is donating his check to the LDS Church, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is donating the Foundation for the National Institute of Health.
Lawmakers of the House and Senate earn $174,000 annually, while congressional leaders like Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) earn more. Boehner makes $223,500, slightly less than Vice President Joe Biden’s and roughly half of President Obama’s annual salary.