At least half of Ohio's congressional delegation say they will not accept a paycheck while the federal government is operating under a partial shutdown.
On a conference call with Ohio reporters Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman said he "won’t be accepting my pay during the shutdown."
The Republican said President Donald Trump and Congress need to continue negotiating because they're not that far apart in being able to end the shutdown.
Later Tuesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced he'd forego his pay while the government is shut down, saying he'd fight for federal workers including contract workers to go back to work. "He is calling on President Trump and Mitch McConnell to reopen the government immediately so these Americans can get back to work earning a paycheck and serving the public," said his spokeswoman, Jenny Donohue.
Among House members, Democrat Rep. Joyce Beatty of Jefferson Township is joining GOP Reps. Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River, Warren Davidson of Troy, Bob Latta of Bowling Green, Bob Gibbs of Lakeville and Dave Joyce of Geauga County in saying they won’t accept a paycheck during the shutdown.
Congressman Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, intends to donate his pay to a local charity.
In a press release, Gonzalez said he’ll donate his pay earned during the partial government shutdown period to northeast Ohio nonprofits supporting survivors of human trafficking, rape, domestic abuse and addictions.
Gonzalez said while he wasn’t in Congress on Dec. 22, when the shutdown started, “I cannot sit by and collect a paycheck while some of my constituents are furloughed, and congressional leadership shouldn’t either.”
Beatty, meanwhile, said through a spokesman that she plans on donating her salary to nonprofits. She is still working out the details, the spokesman said.
Joyce was one of the first to give up his check, saying in a tweet “If Congress can’t keep the government fully operational, we shouldn’t get paid. It’s that simple.” He wrote a letter to the House chief administration officer on Dec. 22 asking for his paycheck to be withheld.
Gibbs, meanwhile, will go without pay as long as essential employees of affected government agencies are doing so, according to a spokesman. Essential employees include federal law enforcement and border patrol agents, required to work regardless of a shutdown. Those employees must show up for work but are not paid. Gibbs planned to introduce a bill late Tuesday that would provide for essential employees required to work during a shutdown to be paid for doing so regardless of a shutdown.
And Latta, in a post on Facebook, wrote, “Members of Congress shouldn’t be receiving their paycheck while others, including our border patrol agents, are not receiving theirs. I have asked the chief administrative officer to withhold my pay during this partial shutdown.”
Other members will continue to receive a paycheck. Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington and Tim Ryan, D-Niles, confirmed they would not stop their pay.
“Rep. Ryan doesn’t believe any federal employees should have their paychecks held hostage for a $5 billion vanity project for Donald Trump,” said Ryan’s spokesman, Michael Zetts. “He is focused on reopening the government and ensuring every employee receives backpay, not political face-saving maneuvers.”
We have reached out to local members of Congress — Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana — and will update this story when we have a response.