Ted Cruz Picks Charity to Receive His Salary During Shutdown

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, greets a young boy during a prayer vigil organized by the Christian Defense Coalition outside the White House last month.
National Journal
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Marina Koren
Oct. 3, 2013, 7:47 a.m.

Even be­fore the shut­down be­came a real­ity, law­makers vowed to with­hold their salar­ies or donate them to char­ity if the gov­ern­ment in­deed closed.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has de­cided to donate his salary to YES Prep, a group of charter schools that provide edu­ca­tion to low-in­come chil­dren in the Hou­s­ton area, a Cruz press as­sist­ant told Na­tion­al Journ­al. One of the first to an­nounce he would donate his pay for the dur­a­tion of the shut­down, Cruz had kept quiet about which or­gan­iz­a­tion he chose for two days, des­pite “hun­dreds, maybe even thou­sands” of calls to his of­fice.

Con­gress mem­bers have the free­dom to donate their salar­ies at any time. Wi­thold­ing their pay? Not so much. As Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Matt Ber­man points out, mak­ing changes the way Con­gress mem­bers are paid mid-ses­sion is un­con­sti­tu­tion­al, ac­cord­ing to the 27th Amend­ment: “No law, vary­ing the com­pens­a­tion for the ser­vices of the Sen­at­ors and Rep­res­ent­at­ives, shall take ef­fect, un­til an elec­tion of Rep­res­ent­at­ives shall have in­ter­vened.” However, this small piece of the su­preme law of the coun­try is un­likely to oth­er politi­cians who have prom­ised to dock their pay.