While many federal workers furloughed, some congressmen keep offices fully staffed

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Some members of Alabama’s congressional delegation are operating with a skeleton crew, much like the rest of the federal government, during the current shutdown and have closed some of their offices, but some of their colleagues are operating with a full staff.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, have not furloughed any of their employees, according to their spokesmen.“Congresswoman Sewell will keep her Washington, D.C., and district offices open and in full operation during regular business hours in order to continue to provide critical information and services to the constituents of the 7th Congressional district,” said Sewell’s chief of staff, Nichole Francis.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has closed all of his offices except Washington and Tuscaloosa. His staffers said they’re handling constituent issues with 12 fewer employees than normal.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile (Lloyd Gallman/ Advertiser)

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile (Lloyd Gallman/ Advertiser)

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ state offices are closed and all calls are going to the Washington office, where a handful of employees remain on the job, according to a spokesman.Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, has furloughed 11 of 15 staffers, and Bachus has instructed the House clerk to withhold his paycheck during the shutdown.

But House members and senators can’t withhold their own pay even if they want to, although some have said they will give it to charity, according to the Associated Press. Under the Constitution’s 27th Amendment, lawmakers can only change the pay of those in a future Congress, not the one in which they serve. Senate and House members are paid $174,000 a year; a handful of leaders make up to $20,000 more.

So during the shutdown, the 532 members of Congress continue to be paid — at a cost of $10,583.85 per hour to taxpayers.

– reporting by Mary Orndorff Troyan

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