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.