© 2013 standinginthegapdallas

Congress Still Gets Paid During Shutdown

U.S. Congress, as a whole, is making
$2.95 every second. That’s $177 a
minute and more than $250,000 a day.
And yes, it’s still making that during the
government shutdown it caused.When Steve Nowicki learned that
congresspeople — the government
employees who, after failing to reach a
budgetary compromise, triggered the
shutdown — would still earn their
salaries while more than 800,000
furloughed government workers were
sent home without pay, he decided to
present the facts in real time to the
Internet via CongressStillGetsPaid.com.Nowicki teamed up with two of his
coworkers, Nick Miaritis and Alex
Goldstein, to develop
CongressStillGetsPaid, a website that
calculates exactly how much Congress
has been paid since the government shut
down at midnight on Oct. 1, Nowicki told
Mahsable. (While all three are employed
by Saatchi & Saatchi, an advertising
agency network, the website is not an
official Saatchi project.)SEE ALSO: How to Access U.S.
Government Data During the ShutdownThe site took less than three hours to
develop, and went live around 6:30 p.m.
on Oct. 2. A week later, it had more than
70,000 views, Nowicki said.On Tuesday, the eighth day of the
shutdown, the ticker had reached $1.9
million. The calculator uses simple math,
Nowicki explained. Each congressperson
has an annual salary of at least
$174,000. Some leadership may earn
more, but the team used base salary to
keep the calculations conservative.Then, they multiplied the salary by 532
for the number of members — at full-strength, Congress has 535 members
(minus the six non-voting delegates), but
there are currently three open seats – and
divided the lump sum of more than $92
million by the seconds that had passed
since the shutdown started.Congress is paid during the shutdown
thanks to the 27th Amendment, which
restricts it from changing its pay. Ratified
in 1992, the amendment was intended to
ensure Congress members didn’t
increase their salaries. The measure’s
side effect: Congress also cannot cut or
freeze its pay (A more detailed
explanation can be found here).The team debated adding additional
features to the simple site, Nowicki said.
They thought about investigating how
much furloughed workers were losing,
but with so many variables, such as
different levels of salary, they weren’t
sure if the extra calculations could be
accurate.”What we liked about this is it’s simple,
and it’s purely fact-based,” he saidNowicki has seen passionate response
from people of both parties people who
visit the website, mostly “outrage that we
continue to pay the very people who
caused the problem,” he said.The creators say that since the calculator
relies purely on facts, the site does not
advocate for a specific outcome and is
unbiased toward any party or platform”At the end of the day, I think we’re more
successful because we’re not trying to be
provocative in any certain political
direction,” he said. “We’re just being
provocative, period.”Congress Still Gets Paid isn’t the only
website tracking funds during the
shutdown. Shutdowncost.com calculates
the cost of work and services the
government is unable to perform without
its furloughed employees.As of Tuesday morning, the shutdown
had cost more than $2 billion.

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