Why Congress gets paid during a shutdown

Shutdown only affects agencies funded through annual appropriations

Published On: Oct 01 2013 01:53:28 PM EDT

With only 10 percent of Americans approving of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll, some think the nation's top leaders should not be paid during the government shutdown. But, as it turns out, Congress can't stop itself from getting paid.

The government shutdown only affects agencies funded through annual appropriations. Salaries for members of Congress are written into permanent law. As The Washington Post reports, the 27th Amendment specifies that Congressional salaries can't be changed until a new term begins.

Congressional staffers are different. Individual members of Congress will decide which staff members are "essential." They will not be furloughed. Congress could later decide to pay furloughed staffers for their time off.

Some members of congress are working to change the law to prevent members of Congress from getting paid during a shutdown, but The Washington Post reports changes would not be likely until after the next election.