One of the most appalling aspects of the government shutdown is that members of Congress, regardless of whether they helped cause the shutdown or not, still receive their full $174,000 annual salary while 800,000 Federal workers get furloughs.
The idea that the very same people who forced our government to close for business, putting all kinds of people in serious financial hardship, could be getting paid their full salaries while still telling us we have a spending problem is enough to make anyone lose their mind. However, there are some members of Congress who see what a miscarriage of justice it is for House Reps and Senators to get a full paycheck while so many other federal workers and people receiving help from the government go without.
You can put Senator Al Franken (D-MN) in the category of Congresspeople that “get it.” Franken has announced that during the shutdown, all of his salary will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland — a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide families with food assistance. The group works in Franken’s home state of Minnesota quite a lot, and considering that we have no idea how long the shutdown is going to last or what the long-ranging impacts will be, groups like Second Harvest may be even more important and necessary in the coming weeks.
“Just as I was prepared to do in 2011 when we faced a possible shutdown, I won’t be taking my salary,” the former SNL-writer and cast member-turned-U.S. Senator said in a statement. “I believe that while the government is shut down, donating my salary to charity is the right thing to do, and I’m going to make sure that money goes toward helping people who might be badly affected by the shut down,” Franken continued.
Franken joins fellow Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who also announced this week his salary during the shutdown would also be donated to charity. Blumenthal, who like Franken is a relative newcomer to the Senate, will be donating his paycheck to the Wounded Warriors Project. Wounded Warriors provides assistance to troops coming home from the front lines after sustaining injuries.