With the federal government hours away from shutting down, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and a growing number of other Maryland lawmakers vowed Friday to donate salary to charity if Congress fails to meet tonight's deadline to pass a spending plan.
The Baltimore County Democrat is one of a number of lawmakers across the country, both Republican and Democrat, making similar pledges to forgo pay during a possible shutdown as the government prepares to furlough roughly 800,000 federal employees and delay pay for members of the military, including those in combat overseas.
"With all of the political maneuvering going on between Republican and Democrats in Congress, I want to be clear. If the government shuts down, I will forego my taxpayer-funded paycheck. If federal employees are not paid, I will not be paid. If our troops are not paid, I will not be paid," Ruppersberger said in a statement. "It is shameful that those elected to office cannot reach a compromise to keep our government up and running and Congress should not be rewarded for its inability to work together."
Ruppersberger, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, earns $174,000 a year, the base pay for most rank-and-file members of Congress. He said he would donate the money to the Army Emergency Relief Fund, which helps military families with emergency food, utilities and medical expenses.
Updated: – Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has also signed a pledge to forgo her pay during a shutdown.
"If we shut down the government and federal employees and contractors don't get paid, Congress shouldn't get paid," the Maryland Democrat said. "And not only should Congress not get paid, no back-pay, no way."
More than two dozen senators have signed the pledge, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Sherron Brown, D-Ohio.
Updated: Rep. Andy Harris also said Friday he would donate pay if the government shuts down. "Because federal employees and our service men and women don't get paid during a possible government shutdown, neither should I," the Maryland Republican said in a statement. "I plan to donate ... my earnings during the potential shutdown to a worthy charity."