Shutdown will stall Senate employees' pay

Paychecks to Senate staffers will not go out Friday if Congress fails to end the government shutdown, now in its 16th day.

The Senate financial clerk said Tuesday it has no authority to pay salaries during the government shutdown, but health insurance, life insurance and retirement coverage would not be interrupted.  

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“I regret any inconvenience these changes in your pay may cause you. The lapse in funding authority gives this office no choice in the matter,” Christopher Doby, the Senate financial clerk, wrote in a memo to staffers.  [READ THE MEMO BELOW]

The memo also reiterated that exempted staffers working through the shutdown would be paid once spending authority is approved. All Senate employees, including furloughed workers, would receive back pay five days after Congress approves a retroactive pay bill that has already been approved by the House, according to the memo.

Senators themselves will get paid no matter what, as the Constitution prohibits altering members’ pay in the current session. Many members, however, have vowed to go without pay until the shutdown ends — opting to have their pay held in escrow. Others have said they would donate their pay to charity during the shutdown.  

The Senate has not yet taken up the House-passed measure, but it is expected to be approved and signed by President Obama. 

The White House issued a statement in support of the legislation ahead of the House vote earlier this month.  

Some Senate offices have called back their furloughed staff as the shutdown drags into its third week, as it seems clear they will be paid. 

Senate staffers would be only the latest federal employees to see a pay period come and go without a check. 

The Office of Management and Budget said paychecks sent to federal employees last Friday would only account for one week of work, which took place before the Oct. 1 shutdown. 

Not all federal employees are paid on the same date. The House staff receives its paychecks at the end of every month, meaning their checks will likely not be affected unless Congress fails come to a resolution to open the government before then. 

U.S. Senate memorandum