On Thursday, senators failed to pass sequestration-replacement bills because the parties couldn’t agree on a deal. Democrats wanted to offset some of the cuts with new revenues through closing tax loopholes, but Republicans said they were unwilling to accept any tax increases.

“No one should get paid for inaction,” Nelson said. “And Congress clearly hasn’t done the job to avert the sequester.”

The Obama administration warned that thousands of workers would be furloughed because of the across-the-board federal spending cut.

“The federal workforce is looking at furloughs that would result in a sizable pay cut — and there’s absolutely no reason members of Congress should exempt themselves,” McCaskill said. “We can and should reach a balanced compromise to replace these damaging across-the-board cuts, but until we do, this is an obvious step to hold Congress accountable for the job we need to get done.”

Congressional leaders were attending a meeting at the White House on Friday to discuss ways to replace the spending cuts to make them less harmful to the economy.

Earlier in the week, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.) said she’d support a pay cut for lawmakers if they were unable to avert sequestration.

“If the workers are going to be cut 20 percent then I think Congress members’ pay should be cut by 20 percent,” Mikulski said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “I look forward to moving on that legislation in the coming weeks, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.”