A Nebraska Republican has apologized for telling his hometown paper that he would “dang straight” continuing to take his salary during the government shutdown.
A lawyer by trade, Terry told the Omaha World-Herald that the shutdown would probably be resolved soon anyway, thus making the question about refusing to take one’s salary while federal workers weren’t getting paid irrelevant.
“Whatever gets them good press,” Terry told the paper last week. “That’s all that it’s going to be. God bless them. But you know what? I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college, and I’ll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”
Most members of Congress make about $174,000 a year.
Other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle told the paper that they would keep receiving their salaries as long as they went to work, with Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) adding, “I don’t do gimmicks.”
But Terry received particular criticism for his statement, and issued an apology Sunday afternoon.
“The other day I made a statement that I would put my needs above others in crisis. I’m ashamed of my comments. It was not leadership. It is not how I was raised. It is not the nature of my character. It is not what I want to teach my sons. I apologize for my hurtful remarks when so many others are feeling the pain of Washington’s dysfunction,” Terry said.
“I should and will stand in the shoes of the federal civilian employees who are furloughed. We share the same responsibilities to pay our bills and if they don’t receive a paycheck and must take extraordinary efforts and sacrifice to pay them, then I should too,” he continued.
“I have asked the Chief Administrative Officer to withhold my paycheck until furloughed employees get their paycheck.”
Those turning down their paychecks have included House conservatives who have pushed for the defunding of Obamacare.
“Many of you have asked how it is that I can continue to receive my paycheck while so many federal employees are furloughed,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said in a letter to constituents last week. “I happen to agree that it’s wrong for Members of Congress to get paid while other federal workers do not. To that end, I have sent a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer asking that my pay be withheld until the shutdown is resolved.”