Members of Congress to donate pay during shutdown

Several members of Congress have asked that their pay be withheld during the government shutdown, with some saying they will donate that money to charity.

Rep. John Delaney, who represents the 6th Congressional District which covers western Maryland, released a statement on Saturday saying he doesn’t believe it is right that he receives pay while others will go without while the government is closed.

“I don’t think it’s right for me to get paid during a government shutdown while my constituents are being furloughed and important and necessary services are being limited or halted all together,” Delaney said in a statement. “It’s time to be responsible and come together on a bipartisan deal to fund the government.”  

The congressman will be donating his pay to the Mercy Health Clinic in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a nonprofit community health clinic that serves uninsured low-income residents, his spokesman, Will McDonald, said. During the government shutdown of 2013, Delaney donated his salary to the same organization.

Delaney is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race. He has been traveling to early primary states including Iowa and New Hampshire in recent months to gain name recognition and promote his platform.

Delaney makes the base salary for members of Congress, which is $174,000 a year. However, he is the fourth richest member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His net worth at the end of 2015 was reported to be nearly $233 million.

Republican Reps. Rick Allen of Georgia and Mia Love of Utah followed in Delaney’s footsteps later on Saturday, both tweeting out messages saying they could not in good conscience accept pay during the shutdown. Their tweets were accompanied by photographs of letters each of them sent to the chief administrative officer of Congress asking that their pay be withheld for the duration of the shutdown.

Allen also said in a tweet that he plans to donate the withheld pay.