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John Boehner, Harry Reid vow to give up salaries during shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 2, 2011.
Getty Images
Harry Reid and John Boehner
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R).
Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner, who makes $223,500 per year, has become the latest member of Congress to promise to give up his pay during a government shutdown, which will begin at midnight if lawmakers do not work out a compromise.

"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," he said in a letter to House colleagues. The Ohio Republican also instructed his colleagues on how they too could go about returning their compensation to the U.S. Treasury.

On Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin circulated a lettercalling on his colleagues to give up their salaries during a shutdown. The West Virginia Democrat asked that senators, who make $174,000 per year, either donate their salaries to charity or return them to the Treasury. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who makes $193,400 per year because of his leadership position, is among the 25 senators to sign onto the pledge, according to Manchin's office.

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 halted during a shutdown, and nearly one million federal workers would be furloughed.

Military pay hangs in the balance in government shutdown negotiations

(At left, Reid discusses the standoff with CBS News' Nancy Cordes.)

Among those who have vowed to give up their pay on the House side are Tea Party Caucus founder Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has cosponsored a bill mandating that members of the military get paid on time during a shutdown.

"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 yesterday that would have funded the Department of Defense for the rest of the fiscal year. But 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 policy provision 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, stating 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.

In a Tweet, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin said 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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