Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz may be donating his salary to charity while the government is closed, but his tea party colleague, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who largely spearheaded with him the fight to defund Obamacare, is keeping his paycheck. Lee was speaking with Chris Jones of local KUTV news when he made the comment.
“I’m working, I’ll continue to be paid,” said Lee.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he is deferring pay as is fellow Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.
The government has been shut down since Tuesday morning. Congressional leaders are meeting at the White House Wednesday to discuss the shutdown for the first time since the government’s closing.
Update: Lee’s communication director Brian Phillips tells BuzzFeed “the KUTV story is wrong” and that “Lee will donate to charity for every day of the shut down.”
Lee’s communications director told KUTV “I also know there ail be the temptation to frame this as ‘backtracking,’ but that’s not at all what this is. As I said, the Senator was unfortunately muddy in his explanation of how the process works and wasn’t prepared at that time to make a big announcement about how he was going to handle it.”
Here’s Lee’s statement to KUTV saying he will donate to charity each day of the shutdown:
“All Members of Congress and the President receive pay during a government shutdown as a matter of law. For furloughed federal employees, Congress has traditionally provided back pay and I would support that approach in this case. In addition, after we negotiate a deal with Democrats to reopen the government and pay for federal employees resumes, I will make a donation to charity for each day the government is shut down. I am continuing to work around the clock to write and build support for legislation that will keep government open and end the stalemate.”