OLYMPIA — Three members of Washington state’s 12-member congressional delegation have promised to give up their pay during the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday.
Reps. Derek Kilmer and Suzan DelBene, both Democrats, and Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, have all confirmed that they will forgo their salary for the duration of the shutdown. Members of the House and Senate make $174,000 a year, and some in leadership roles make more.
While the three will automatically be paid during the time, they will return the amount equitable to their salary to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Since March, DelBene has already been returning 8.2 percent of her salary each month to Treasury in response to across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, that were done earlier this year.
Kilmer and DelBene announced their decision on Twitter, and a spokeswoman for the House Republican Conference confirmed McMorris Rodgers’ stand by email.
In a statement issued on Monday, Kilmer said that he believed “in leading by example.”
“If Congress can’t get its act together to stop a government shutdown, then I don’t believe Members of Congress should be paid,” he wrote.
Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will donate 100 percent of her salary to a charity in her district until Congress “gets the government back up and running,” said her spokesman, Casey Bowman.
Herrera Beutler will donate her pay to Shared Hope International, a Vancouver-based nonprofit group that seeks to prevent sex trafficking.
A spokesman for Rep. Rick Larsen said that the Democrat would not be returning his pay during the shutdown.
“Congress is responsible for ending the Republican shutdown, and Rep. Larsen’s constituents expect him to be working hard toward that end,” spokesman Bryan Thomas wrote in an email response. “He will be.”
Also keeping their pay are fellow Democratic Reps. Adam Smith and Denny Heck. In a written statement Heck said he would be “making an immediate contribution from my salary to support families of furloughed employees negatively affected by the shutdown.”
A spokesman for Heck did not immediately respond to an email seeking additional information on how much Heck planned to donate, or whether the donation would go to individuals or to a specific organization.
Smith said by email that he would “keep working hard to end the shutdown as soon as possible.”
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray also will keep her pay. However, spokesman Matt McAlvanah noted Murray previously supported a measure that would have suspended all lawmakers’ pay during any such shutdown. That measure passed the Senate but was never taken up by the House.
“She continues to support that approach,” McAlvanah wrote in an email.
Phone and email messages left with the offices of the rest of the delegation — Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Dave Reichert, Jim McDermott, and Doc Hastings — were not returned.