WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nine days into the partial government shutdown, Congressman Howard Coble has decided to donate his salary to charity.
Coble originally said he was keeping his congressional salary because he was still at work.
"I had stated earlier that because I was working, I would accept my salary," Rep. Coble said.
"Since I plan to return to the 6th District this weekend and will miss votes in the House on Friday and Saturday, I could no longer defend that position. So, I have sent a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House requesting that my paycheck be withheld. Constitutionally, as a member of Congress, I cannot refuse to receive my salary, but I can request that it be held during this lapse in government appropriations. Once the shutdown ends, I will make contributions to some of my favorite charities equal to the number of days that the government is not fully open."
Coble was getting heat from constituents earlier in the week because he was one of the few lawmakers still banking their pay.
Read Coble's Full Letter
He made no mention of the criticism when explaining his decision. In fact, he say he's saved taxpayers money over the last 29 years because he does not participate in the congressional pension program.
"For 29 years, taxpayers have not been contributing to the Howard Coble congressional pension fund," the 6th District representative said. "Clearly, money has never motivated me to serve the public and it never will. Now, that I have decided to return home this weekend to attend several events that are important, I think it is right for me to refuse my salary and donate the money to charity."
Congressman Coble said he cleared his absence with the House leadership and was given permission to head home.
WFMY News 2