If there’s anyone who can stand to miss a paycheck or two, it’s a member of Congress. They are, generally speaking, a wealthy lot-the House and Senate each include dozens of millionaires, according to a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics.
So the violins might not come out when lawmakers agree-as Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal did today-to voluntarily forego their congressional paycheck if the federal government shuts down.
“I will not–nor should any member of Congress–take home a paycheck while seniors, servicemembers, and middle class families in Connecticut and across the country struggle with the devastating economic effects of a government shutdown,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “That is why I pledge to the people of Connecticut that I will not accept my federal salary in the event that the government shuts down – and I’ll return that money to the Treasury.”
Blumenthal is among the richest lawmakers, with his net worth at least $64 million and as much as $125 million. Lawmakers only have to report their assets in broad ranges, so a precise tally is not possible. And most of Blumenthal’s assets actually are held by his wife.
Blumenthal’s move came in response to a call by Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, for all lawmakers to either return their paychecks to the Treasury or donate the money to charity. Manchin’s net worth is pegged at between $2.5 million and $9.4 million.