Asked whether the president would follow the lead of Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderTop Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination Instead of 'hope and change' Obama gave progressives Trump Republicans want to grease tracks for Trump MORE, who said Monday he would reduce his pay by an amount commensurate with the furloughs experienced by federal workers, Carney said that the White House's position "is that the government should be open."

The press secretary said that individuals within the administration could "obviously" make decisions about whether to donate their pay but that the issue was more complicated than previous furloughs.

When sequestration hit, the president and other top administration officials said they would cut their pay to match the furlough days taken by federal employees.

During the current shutdown, employees required to report to work should be paid eventually, Carney said. Others "will not ever get paid unless Congress acts," he said, adding that the White House hoped Congress would vote for back pay.

"It's the right thing to do," Carney said.

According to The Washington Post, more than 70 lawmakers have said that they will forgo their pay during the shutdown.