Harry Reid Vows to Give up Salaries in Government Shutdown

Harry Reid and John Boehner are the latest politicians to promise to give up their pay in the event of a government shutdown, which will begin if lawmakers are unable to work out a compromise.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who makes $193,400 a year, was among 25 senators to sign a pledge circulated by Senator Joe Manchin asking his colleagues to either donate their salaries to charity or return them to the Treasury pending a shutdown.

"In the event of a lapse in appropriations for fiscal year 2011 causing a government shutdown, I will return any and all compensation that I would otherwise be entitled during such a lapse in appropriations," House Speaker Boehner said in a letter to House colleagues. Boehner earns $223,500 a year.

The Democrat-led Senate passed a bill on March 1 mandating that members of Congress not be paid during a government shutdown, but the GOP-led House did not take it up.

U.S. troops would see their pay temporarily stalled amidst a shutdown, and nearly one million federal workers would be furloughed.

Tea Party Caucus founder Rep. Michele Bachman, who cosponsored a bill mandating that military members get paid on time during a shutdown, also pledged to give up her salary.

"Unfortunately, current law prevents our military men and women from receiving their paycheck on time if government services are interrupted," she said. "Because of this discrepancy between the pay of our troops and Members of Congress, I will personally be donating my pay to a non-profit organization serving our military families."

House Republicans passed a bill Thursday that would have funded the Department of Defense for the rest of the fiscal year. However, it was tied to a short-term budget bill containing $12 billion in spending cuts that Democrats had not agreed to, as well as a caveat that would prohibit federal or local funding paying for abortions in Washington D.C. President Obama vowed to veto it if it came across his desk. Tea Party-linked GOP Rep. Allen West criticized his party Thursday evening for playing politics with troop funding, saying that he is "disgusted at the perception that Leaders in my own Party...are now using the men and women in uniform" to pass a short-term budget bill. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin posted via Twitter that it was the Democrats who are playing politics with the troops. "Appalling Commander in Chief action: Announce veto of troop funding in time of war," she wrote. "Troops sacrificing life & limb & he plays politics at their expense. UNBELIVEABLE. Memo to the President: Insurgents won't stop & wait for govt shutdown to end before resuming actions."
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