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Lawmakers to Get Paychecks Regardless of Pledge to "Withhold"

Posted: Oct 3, 2013 12:57 PM by Alex Mallin, KOMU 8 News Reporter
Updated: Oct 3, 2013 7:25 PM

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COLUMBIA - Several Missouri lawmakers are pledging to withhold their congressional paychecks during the period the government is shut down. Unless the shutdown lasts through the end of October, that statement might be misleading.

"The U.S. Constitution requires that members' salaries be paid in full, regardless of whether or not there is a lapse in appropriations," said Dan Weiser, a spokesman for the U.S. House chief administrative officer. "However, members may request that the chief administrative officer not deliver their paychecks until the government reopens."

According to Weiser, Congressional lawmakers receive their paychecks at the end of each month.

Since the government shut down Tuesday, local U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, Jason Smith, R-Salem and Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, have all sent letters to the House Administrative Officer requesting their pay be withheld until the shutdown ends.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said she would donate her pay during shutdown days to charity.

Hartzler has joined forces with other House Republicans in an effort to push a stop-gap spending bill that would strip or delay funding for the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have said they will not pass a bill that defunds the President's health care law, which has resulted in a stalemate and government shutdown due to an uncooperative Senate and House.

U.S. House and Senate members earn $174,000 per year, or around $474 per day.

When asked in a phone interview whether she would be giving up any of her salary earned during the days of the government shutdown, Hartzler didn't directly answer the question. She said, "Each member has to decide that and some members are in different financial positions...I'm here working. My goal is just to continue to work as hard as I can to get a resolution to this so that we can keep the government open and move forward with a health care plan that won't be hurting people in my district."

KOMU 8 News tried reaching U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, but he was unavailable for comment.

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