Shutdown pay promise kept

MARIETTA – Three of Ohio’s congressional representatives are making good on promises to donate the pay they would have received during this month’s 16-day government shutdown to charities.

Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Republican Rep. Bill Johnson have all decided not to accept the portion of their paychecks covering the shutdown period between Oct. 1 and 17.

Legislators in both the Senate and House of Representatives each receive an annual salary of $174,000.

“I refuse to profit from the stupidity and mule-headed culture of modern-day Washington, D.C.,” Johnson, of Marietta, said as he pledged his $7,630 to three nonprofits.

Mike Smullen, Johnson’s chief of staff, noted House members are paid once monthly at the end of each month and Johnson’s donations will be distributed after his October check comes on Thursday.

“At that time, he will be donating his salary from the shutdown to The Honor Flight Network, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and his church,” Smullen said, adding that the funds will be spread evenly among the three entities.

The Honor Flight Network provides transportation for America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the national memorials dedicated to their service.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention works to provide research, education and advocacy for people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

Portman also donated his salary accrued during the government shutdown to favorite charities, according to Michael Haidet, the senator’s deputy press secretary.

“He donated to two causes he has been involved in: half to Wounded Warriors, half to the Salvation Army’s Ohio anti-human trafficking efforts,” he said, but did not specify an exact amount of the contribution.

“His entire salary after taxes and deductions accrued during the government shutdown was donated,” Haidet said.

The Wounded Warrior Project provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.

Brown announced early on that he would not accept his salary during the government shutdown and would donate it to charity. His earnings for that period will go to the Ohio Honor Flight Network.

“I decided to donate the portion of my salary earned during the shutdown to the network of Ohio Honor Flights as it continues to serve those who served us,” Brown said Monday. His press office could not provide the exact amount the senator donated to Ohio Honor Flight Network.

Brown also donated his salary to various charities in his then-House District following the 1995 government shutdown., a website tracking congressional salaries during the shutdown, reported as a whole members of congress earned more than $4 million from Oct. 1 to 17.

According to the Associated Press, ratings agencies, including Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Analytics have estimated that the shutdown cost the economy at least $23 billion in projected growth.

And the government lost out on millions of dollars that would have been spent at shuttered parks, caves, monuments and museums, for instance, with the National Park Service putting its toll at $450,000 a day during the shutdown.

Another major cost is related to payments to contractors and other service providers that the government missed. Some businesses might be due interest because of late checks, or might request more compensation because of the disruption.

But the highest cost will be paying federal workers for time they spent idle-about 800,000 workers were barred from working, and some offices might have to increase overtime to rush work that did not get done, according to the AP.