As hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed amid a government shutdown, at least 10 Texans in Congress aren't planning to accept their paychecks for that period or will donate them to charity.
The Texas Tribune checked with all the Texans in Congress on Monday about whether they planned to forgo their pay during the shutdown which began Saturday. Ten have decided to withhold their pay or donate their paychecks to charity. One lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, had no comment, per her spokeswoman.
The shutdown, which began early Saturday morning, was a result of Republicans and Democrats not reaching a compromise on spending, largely due to a stalemate over immigration policy.
"There's no good reason why Members should receive pay during a #shutdown while fed employees suffer," U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, wrote on Twitter Saturday. "That's why I plan to ask that my salary be withheld while we work to restore government funding. Please know that during this time my team and I are still working to serve #TX23."
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Hurd joined seven other Texas lawmakers who confirmed publicly or to the Tribune that they will forgo their pay during the shutdown: U.S. Reps. Jodey Arrington, R-Lubbock; John R. Carter, R-Round Rock; Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas; Michael McCaul, R-Tomball; John Ratcliffe, R-Heath; Randy Weber, R-Friendswood; and Roger Williams, R-Austin. Two others – U.S. Reps. Roger Williams, R-Austin, and Bill Flores, R-Bryan, said they would donate their pay to charity.
Flores said he would donate his pay to the Fisher House Foundation, a network dedicated to providing free housing for military and veteran families while their loved one is in the hospital.
“One of the provisions in our Constitution is that Congress is paid during a government shutdown, even though our military men and women do not. I think this is wrong. This means that if Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats are successful in shutting down our government, Congress will still get paid,” Flores said in a statement Friday hours before the shutdown. “If this happens, I will donate the net pay that I receive during the ‘Schumer Shutdown’ to the Fisher House Foundation, which does remarkable work to help military families, just as I did during 2013.”
The base salary for members of Congress is $174,000 a year.