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Md. lawmakers to donate salary during shutdown

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.

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"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.

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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."

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