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Many congressional members forgo or donate salaries during shutdown

Oct. 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A growing number of members of the U.S. Congress said they would give up their pay or donate it to charity during the government shutdown that began Tuesday.

Among those saying they will be forgoing a paycheck during the shutdown was Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, reported. A spokesman for the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee said he will donate his paycheck to an unspecified charity.

"Ryan donates any salary increase provided to members of Congress to charity," spokesman Kevin Seifert wrote in an email. "He plans to do the same during a government shutdown and donate any pay received to charity."

Rep. Pete P. Gallego, D-Texas, said he would donate his salary during the federal government shutdown to an organization that helps injured military personnel.

"They have sacrificed -- Congress should heed their example," Gallego said of the military in a post on his Facebook page.

Another Texas Democrat, Rep. Joaquin Castro, announced on the House floor he would not take a paycheck as long as the shutdown last, the San Antonio Business Journal reported. Also donating his salary to charity is Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who posted on his website last week he "will not accept pay for the duration of the shutdown and will donate any salary he receives to local charities."

Gallego said in a release it was "unconscionable" that Americans across the country would be forgoing wages "while members of Congress continue to receive a paycheck."

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., also was among the growing number of federal lawmakers who said they would donate their pay, KAAL-TV, Austin, Minn., reported. He said he would give his paychecks to food shelves in his district.

"The political games and governing by crisis attitude must end," Walz said. "Hardworking families are suffering because of the uncompromising, reckless attitude of a few rigid ideologues in Washington. That isn't right and it isn't fair. That is why I will donate my pay to charity."

Several members of Congress from the Chicago area will either decline their paychecks or will donate them to charity, including Democrats Brad Schneider and Bill Foster and Republican Randy Hultgren, WBBM-TV, Chicago, reported.

The Washington Post noted members of Congress and the president must be paid by law. Rank-and-file members of Congress are paid $174,000 a year, with congressional leaders getting more.

The Post's running list of those lawmakers making it known they would donate or refuse their pay included: Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Rep. William Enyart, D-Ill., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., Rep. Frank LoBiondo, D-N.J., Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., Rep. Markwayne Mullins, R-Okla., Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., and Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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