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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 04/08/2011

Boehner will not take salary during shutdown

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) became the latest member of Congress to announce that he will not accept his congressional salary in the case of a federal shutdown.

In a letter on Friday to members and other House offices, Boehner wrote that he will request that his salary be returned to the federal Treasury if there is 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,” Boehner wrote.

He noted that during a shutdown, “all members would be paid pursuant to the provisions of the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states that no law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

If members want to return their pay to the Treasury, Boehner added, they should contact the Committee on House Administration for assistance.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin earlier this week circulated a letter to colleagues stating that he would give back his salary if the government is shuttered. The idea has gained bipartisan support from members including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Congress’s ability to limit its own pay (as well as the president’s) is restricted by the Constitution; although members of both chambers have written legislation that would bar members and the president from getting paid, a White House liaison last week declared in a memo that a Senate-passed Democratic proposal to sever congressional pay during a shutdown would violate the Constitution.

Meanwhile, there remains no guarantee that federal workers who are deemed “essential” and are authorized to work during a shutdown would receive any back pay – an issue that was aired Thursday night by many constituents at a town hall hosted by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

As The Post’s Ben Pershing reports, Moran told his constituents that “at this point in time there is little sentiment [in Congress] to reimburse those employees who have been furloughed.” Roughly 70,000 federal employees work in Moran’s district, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.

The full letter from Boehner is below.

Members, the Resident Commissioner, Delegates,

Committee Chairmen, and House Officers

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Colleague:

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. During such shutdown, all members would be paid pursuant to the provisions of the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states that no law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. This requirement of the Constitution does not bar individual members from refusing to accept their compensation for any time when a lapse in appropriations occurs. Should you desire to have your compensation returned to the United States Treasury, you may do so and House Administration Committee can assist in executing your decision.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

By  |  11:48 AM ET, 04/08/2011

 
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