According to CNN, October 15, 2013, increasing numbers of members of Congress either are not accepting their paychecks or are donating the funds from their checks to charity during this government shutdown. In a survey cited in the article, 43 Senators either were donating to charity, and fifteen were not accepting their paychecks at all. Senators who have decided to continue taking their paychecks are: Tom Coburn, (R-Ok), Chris Murphy, (D-Ct); Chuck Grassley, (R-Ia); Tom Harkin, (D-Ia) Roy Blunt, (R-Mo); Patty Murray, (D-Wa).
Coburn stated that he will accept his check and "spend it and tithe it and donate to charities" like he always has done, whereas Harkin had a more blunt answer. He stated that he is "going to work" and that he "ought to be paid."
In the House, 52 members are donating to charity or to the United States Treasury, while 81 are not taking a paycheck and three are undecided at this time. Nine members of the House, however, stated that they are accepting their paychecks: Mike Thompson, (D-Ca); Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Fl); Rep. Danny Davis, (D-Il); Rep. Todd Rokita, (R-In); Rep. William 'Lacy' Clay, Jr., (D-Mo) Rep. Howard Coble, (R-Nc); Rep. Susan Brooks, (R-Nc) Rep. Renee Ellmers, (R-Nc) James Clyburn, (D-Sc).
In a telephone interview on WTVD, Rep. Elmers bluntly stated that the reason she is keeping her paycheck is that she needs the money:
I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line. I understand that maybe there are members who are deferring their paychecks and that's admirable. I'm not in that position."
It calls into question how many of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers would like to be able to be in a position of deciding whether or not to accept their paychecks. How many of them also are not in a position to forego their checks while Congress shuffles the debt ceiling legislation back and forth with a government shutdown looming over its head in less than 36 hours?