OLYMPIA — There’s at least one constant in a government shutdown: The 532 members of Congress continue to be paid — at a cost of $10,583.85 per hour to taxpayers.
House members and senators can’t withhold their own pay even if they want to. Under the Constitution’s 27th Amendment, lawmakers can only change the pay of those in a future Congress, not the one in which they serve. Senators and House members are paid $174,000 a year; a handful of leaders make up to $20,000 more.
Five 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 Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Doc Hastings, have all confirmed that they will forgo their salary for the duration of the shutdown.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, announced on Twitter that she will give 100 percent of her salary to Shared Hope International, a Vancouver-based nonprofit group that seeks to prevent sex trafficking, until Congress “gets the government back up and running,” said her spokesman, Casey Bowman.
Kilmer and McMorris Rodgers have both filed a letter with the chief administrative officer of the House to request that their pay be withheld. DelBene spokesman Viet Shelton said that DelBene would continue to be automatically paid, but would return the amount equitable to her salary during the shutdown to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
A spokesman for Rep. Rick Larsen said that the Democrat would not be returning his pay during the shutdown.
Also keeping their pay are fellow Democratic Reps. Adam Smith and Denny Heck.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray also will keep her pay. Phone and email messages left with the offices of the rest of the delegation — Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Dave Reichert, a Republican, and Jim McDermott, a Democrat — were not returned.