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Boehner to Return Pay if Government Shuts Down

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 8, 2011, to respond to criticism by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. on the budget impasse. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will return any pay made during a federal government shutdown.

"In the event of a lapse in appropriations for fiscal year 2011 causing a government shutdown, I will return any and all compensation that I would otherwise be entitled during such a lapse in appropriations," Boehner wrote.

In a letter to colleagues, Boehner points out how other House members can do the same. Federal law requires that lawmakers continue to earn a salary during a government shutdown but Boehner's letter states they can give the compensation back.

"This requirement of the Constitution does not bar individual members from refusing to accept their compensation for any time when a lapse in appropriations occurs," Boehner wrote. "Should you desire to have your compensation returned to the United States Treasury, you may do so and House Administration Committee can assist in executing your decision."

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., told MSNBC Thursday that she needs her salary and won't forego it. She pointed to student loans, childcare and the need to maintain residences in California and Washington as reasons for her decision.

Here's the full text of Boehner's Letter

Dear Colleague:

In the event of a lapse in appropriations for fiscal year 2011 causing a government shutdown, I will return any and all compensation that I would otherwise be entitled during such a lapse in appropriations. During such shutdown, all members would be paid pursuant to the provisions of the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states that no law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened. This requirement of the Constitution does not bar individual members from refusing to accept their compensation for any time when a lapse in appropriations occurs. Should you desire to have your compensation returned to the United States Treasury, you may do so and House Administration Committee can assist in executing your decision. Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

Fox News Senior House producer Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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