Legislators refuse pay for shutdown but some lack sacrifice

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While some IT federal workers are without pay during the shutdown, Congress members are still reaping their salaries. However, some lawmakers on IT related committees (and others) have pledged to not take pay from the government or to donate their pay during the shutdown.

A total of 20 members of Congress who sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee have agreed to suspend their pay until the shutdown ends.

“[Our district] is a region particularly hard hit by the shutdown,” said MaryAnne Pintar, a member of Rep. Scott Peters,’ D-Calif., staff, “[The congressman] wanted to stand with them.”

In addition to not taking money during the shutdown, Peters has donated 8 percent of his pay — about $1,300 — to needy seniors since the sequester cuts.

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, has promised to donate his shutdown pay to the March of Dimes and even Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has suspended his pay.

However, some doubt the real sacrifice congressional members are making by withholding their pay.

“It’s not clear that they will actually turn over their paychecks. Plus, many of them are rich anyway,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “I wouldn’t say the sacrifice is the same as the federal workers who can’t pay their mortgage.”

“It seems like more of a publicity stunt to me,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, “It’s not in anyway comparable to the pain Congress is putting on federal workers. It isn’t much of a sacrifice for them. Many are multimillionaires.”

Six of the 20 members on IT-related committees giving up their pay for the shutdown are on Roll Call’s list of the 50 richest Congress members of 2013. Those members include Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who reported a net worth of about $144.1 million and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., whose net worth is $96.31 million, according to Roll Call’s list.

Since 2009, Congress members have been paid $174,000 annually. Each week of the shutdown, the 20 members are forfeiting about $3,350 before taxes.

Below is a list of Congress members on IT-related committees who have pledged to withhold or donate their pay during the shutdown. With these names is the average net worth of the Congress members as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics and Roll Call’s 50 Richest Members of Congress list.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. – Net worth: $773,506

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif. – Net worth: $3,616,543

Rep. Paul Broun Jr., R-Ga. – Net worth: $128,008

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas – Net Worth: $1,865,973

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. – Net worth: $43,670,000

Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill. – Net worth: $8,005

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine – Net worth: $16,023,075

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash. – Net worth: $477,008

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. – Net worth: $681,015

Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. – Net worth: $1,761,010

Rep. Frank A. Lobiondo, R-N.J. – Net worth: $362,012

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. – Net worth: $14,930,000

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas – Net worth: $144,100,000

Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas – Net worth: $12,845,039

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif. – Net worth: $44,740,000

Sen. Jin Risch, R-Idaho – Net worth: $19,180,000

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. – Net worth not available

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. – Net worth: $2,668,018

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. – Net worth: $96,310,000

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas – Net worth: $600,502

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Congress, CREW, Government IT News, House of Representatives, Melanie Sloan, Senate, shutdown
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