Tens of thousands of government employees have been sent home or are working without pay during the government shutdown, but the people with the shutdown’s fate in their hands still get their salary on time. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other lawmakers are now pledging their shutdown paychecks to charity as a symbolic move of solidarity.
Warren announced Tuesday that she would donate her salary to HIAS, a Jewish non-profit that supports refugees worldwide. The organization gained attention this year after it was discovered that the gunman who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting this year had a history of dissing the charity online.
Over 7,000 people in Massachusetts have been sent home or are working without pay during the #TrumpShutdown. Until @realDonaldTrump re-opens the government, I'm donating my salary to @HIASrefugees, a nonprofit that helps refugees and makes our country stronger in the process.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 1, 2019
Warren had just announced the day before a launch of a 2020 exploratory committee, basically confirming she’s running for president.
HIAS thanked Warren for her support.
Thank you Elizabeth Warren for helping the most vulnerable and standing up for refugees and asylum seekers! https://t.co/E6rDnnycq9
— HIAS (@HIASrefugees) January 2, 2019
But Warren is far from the only lawmaker donating their salary. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii promised her pay would support local Hawaiian food banks.
“More than 2,500 federal workers in Hawaii are either furloughed or working without pay during the holidays because Donald Trump shut down the government,” Hirono said in a statement Thursday. “As long as Donald Trump refuses to re-open the government, I will be donating my salary to Hawaii’s food banks – who serve nearly one in eight Hawaii residents in need.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is another Democratic senator who refused to keep her salary during the shutdown, tweeting soon after the original shutdown announcement that she will donate to local charities in her state. “I cannot take a salary during a government shutdown knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay,” she wrote.
I cannot take a salary during a government shutdown knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay. I’ll be donating my salary to a Nevada charity for every day of the Trump shutdown.
— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) December 22, 2018
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is only in office for one more day, but promised her salary would also go to charity. According to the Bismarck Tribune, her Republican replacement doesn’t like the idea of giving up his pay.
“I have no intention of donating my salary while working,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, who’s taking over as senator on Jan 3 said. Cramer called the move to do so “gimmicky.”