With the government just hours away from shutdown and the Obama Administration already preparing to halt pay for combat troops and furlough 800,000 federal workers, dozens of members of Congress have announced that they will skip pay during a government shutdown.
More than twenty-four senators have already signed a pledge written by Sen. Jon Manchin (D-WV) promising to “forego my federal salary until we reach an agreement” by either returning it to the Treasury or donating it to charity. They’ve been joined by a bi-partisan group of House members, including Reps. John Boehner (R-OH), Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) who say they will donate any pay they receive during the shutdown to charity.
Earlier this month, the Senate rejected a bill put forward by Sen. Barbara Box (D-CA) to cut off congressional pay in the event of a shutdown. President Obama and congressional leaders will still be paid even if they fail to reach a budget agreement tonight.
Meanwhile in a development military families have called “absolutely devastating,” combat troops will not receive pay during the shutdown. Furloughed civilians working at military bases are also at risk of losing their security clearance, and thus their jobs, if they run into financial trouble while out of work. The shutdown would also hamper the economic recovery, halting funding for basic infrastructure, blocking tax refunds and small business loans, and exacerbating state budget crises.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) has said she will not forgo her paycheck, telling MSNBC that “it’s very difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I can give up my paycheck,’ because the reality is, I have financial obligations that I have to meet on a month-to-month basis that doesn’t make it possible for me.” Unfortunately many military families, and federal workers, have no choice but to give up their paychecks– and still face those monthly financial obligations.