The government shutdown came to a close early Thursday morning when President Barack Obama signed a bill to fund the government and lift the debt ceiling after a 16-day standoff in Congress.
While hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers went without pay for over two weeks, members of Congress continued to earn their salaries — currently $174,000 annually for rank-and-file members — for the duration of the impasse. Their compensation is protected by the 27th Amendment, which states that no law changing the rate of pay for members may take effect until after an election in the House of Representatives.
According to Congress Still Gets Paid, which has been tracking congressional earnings since October 1, members earned upwards of $4 million during the partial shutdown:
Although Congress approved granting backpay to workers furloughed during the shutdown, many individuals were angered that the individuals responsible for shutting down the government continued to get paid.
Over 450,000 individuals signed a Courage Campaign petition on MoveOn.org seeking to block congressional pay during the standoff. Similar efforts drew thousands of supporters of withholding lawmakers' paychecks. And Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) sought to take the matter straight to his colleagues by introducing the "No Government — No Pay Act," which would block senators and representatives from being paid until the shutdown ended. Additionally, hundreds of lawmakers decided to either refuse or donate their salaries until an agreement was reached.