No pay for Congress in shutdown, says growing chorus of lawmakers

Members of Congress shouldn't receive their salaries if the government shuts down, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Wednesday.

"If we do shut down, members of Congress shouldn't get any pay during the shutdown," Snowe told Maine radio station WLOB. "I don't think members should get any pay."

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Snowe's comments come a day after 21 Senate Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) requesting a meeting to discuss legislation sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that would prevent lawmakers and the president from getting paid during a shutdown. 

"Our bill is simple: If we cannot do our work and keep the government functioning, we should not receive a paycheck," the Democrats' letter reads. "If we cannot compromise and meet each other halfway, then we should not be paid."

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Boxer called it "appalling and embarrassing" that “Speaker Boehner has not done one thing to make sure his members and he do not get paid in case of shutdown."

Snowe did not say whether she thought the president should receive a salary during a shutdown.

Both the Democrats' urging and Snowe's statement come as the deadline to avoid a shutdown after April 8 looms. Recently, Democrats have been saying that a compromise around a deal that would cut $33 billion from current federal spending was close, but Boehner has criticized that number as “not enough.”

President Obama on Tuesday criticized Congress's failure to reach a deal by now, saying there is "no excuse" for dragging out the spending talks.

Josiah Ryan contributed.