Carol Felsenthal
On politics

These Illinois Politicians Stopped Their Own Pay for the Government Shutdown

Seven of the 18 delegates from Illinois (and one senator) stopped taking salaries during the shutdown. Here’s the list.

Illinois Democratic Congressman Bill Foster (right) suspended his own $174,000 salary—and he thinks the "exclusive" Congressional gym and spa should be closed during the shutdown. Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

The Washington Post has an up-to-the-minute-almost list of those members of the House and Senate who are refusing their salaries—some specifying that the money be placed in escrow—or donating them to charity, all in solidarity with furloughed workers and others feeling the pain of the government shutdown.

Seven of the members of the 18-member Illinois delegation—four democrats and three republicans—have announced their intention to forgo their paychecks. (Democrat Bobby Rush is on a leave of absence to attend to his wife’s health problem.) Our Republican senator, Mark Kirk, says he’s not taking any pay during the shutdown. Senator Dick Durbin is not on the Post’s list, so presumably he is taking his pay, although that could change.

According to the Post, “nearly 250 lawmakers”—there are 100 senators and 435 congressmen—have said they’ll refuse their salaries for the duration of the shutdown.

One important caveat: The Post’s list keeps lengthening as pols decide, presumably, that the “optics” of getting paid while others are suffering will not look good during the next campaign.

Members of the Illinois House delegation currently not taking pay are:

  • Democrat Cheri Bustos
  • Republican Rodney Davis
  • Democrat William Enyart
  • Democrat Bill Foster*
  • Republican Randy Hultgren
  • Republican Adam Kinzinger
  • Democrat Brad Schneider

Oh, and that other guy from Illinois, Barack Obama, who makes $400,000 a year, has not announced what he’ll do with his paycheck. Neither has VP Joe Biden, who makes $230,700.

Regular members of both bodies make $174,000 annually. House Speaker John Boehner makes $223,500. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both make $193,400. All three men have announced that they’re not taking their money.

*Bill Foster, along with Democratic colleague Patrick Murphy of Florida, are demanding that the House gym be closed for the duration of the shutdown. In a statement, Foster said, “Members of Congress should not enjoy access to their exclusive gym and spa while Capitol police go without pay, children are being turned away from Head Start and veterans are left wondering if their benefits will come in the mail on November 1st.”

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