Manchin: I'll donate my salary to charity if there's a shutdown

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has joined the growing ranks of lawmakers calling on President Obama, Vice President Biden and members of Congress to forfeit their salaries in the case of a government shutdown.

Manchin, in a "Dear Colleague" letter released Thursday, said he would voluntarily donate his salary to charity or return it to the government in the event of a shutdown.

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"[I]f the government shuts down, I will take this pledge, and I urge you all — from the president and vice president to all members of Congress — to take it with me," Manchin wrote. "I will forgo my federal salary until we reach an agreement. I will donate my salary to charity or return it to the Treasury until the government works again."

The government runs out of money at the end of the day Friday and would face a shutdown beginning on Saturday unless lawmakers reach an agreement to extend funding.

Democrats in the Senate have passed legislation already that would prevent lawmakers and the president and vice president from drawing a salary. But that legislation went nowhere in the House. (ABC News reported Wednesday evening that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, doesn't think lawmakers should draw a salary in the event of a shutdown.)

"The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the president, vice president or any member of Congress — Republican or Democrat — thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down," Manchin said.

The freshman Democrat is up for reelection in 2012, and has at times distanced himself from the rest of his party and Obama. Manchin has already hit the president on the deficit, saying Obama has not led on the issue. The senator also has pledged not to vote to increase the debt limit unless it's tied to a plan to address long-term debt.

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