It’s week two of the government shutdown. And while thousands of government workers have been furloughed, members of congress continue to collect their pay.
Some congress members recognize the bad optics of the situation. As reported by the Washington Post, more than a hundred congressmen are refusing their salaries, or donating their salaries to charity, for the duration of the shutdown. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) has even filed a bill, the Shutdown Member of Congress Pay Act of 2013, that would suspend members' salary during the shutdown.
So where are the paychecks going? Here's a rundown of how the Texas congressional delegation is handling salaries during the shutdown.
The following congress members are requesting that their paychecks be withheld:
- Sen. John Cornyn (R): Cornyn defended his position not to donate his paycheck to charity. A spokeswoman for the senator says Cornyn "donates to charity and does not believe a government shutdown should necessitate charitable contributions, compassion for fellow man should."
- Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Midland)
- Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Rockwall)
- Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock)
- Rep. Randy Weber (R-Pearland)
These congressmen intend to donate their earnings to charitable causes:
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R): Has not specified
- Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio): Fisher House and Battered Women’s Shelter
- Rep. Bill Flores (R): Federal debt reduction
- Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine): An unspecified organization that supports injured military members.
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin): March of Dimes
- Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso): Veterans’ Service Organizations (VSOs) in El Paso
These members have announced that they will not be receiving their salaries for the duration of the shutdown, but have not specified if they will be donating their salaries to charity or if their paychecks will be withheld:
- Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth)
- Rep. Al Green (D-Houston)
- Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston)
- Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Dallas)
- Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land)
- Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio)
- Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville)
- Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin)
The remaining congressmen from Texas will either continue to be paid for the duration of the shutdown, or have not yet made any formal announcement concerning their salary:
- Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis)
- Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands)
- Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Lewisville)
- Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock)
- Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston)
- Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin)
- Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler)
- Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Edinburg)
- Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-Dallas)
- Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Richardson)
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston)
- Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Bonham)
- Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble)
- Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Dallas)
- Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Friendswood)
- Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Dallas)
- Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon)
- Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo): Cuellar noted that he currently gives money to several charities, and does not intend to alter this pattern because of the shutdown. "During this shutdown, I will provide support for high school scholarships," said Cuellar. "I hope my colleagues show the same type of long-term commitment to the community and do not just give during the government shutdown."
All that said, USA Today notes the decision to delay or donate a congressional paycheck is largely symbolic. As paychecks are distributed at the end of each month, these congress members may not even get the chance to be denied their pay. What's more, the pay must be distributed eventually – which means that members will still get their checks, even if it's a little late.
Correction: Rep. Michael Conaway previously announced that he would not accept a salary. The post has since been corrected.