The Washington Times - April 7, 2011, 01:06PM

Sen. Joe Manchin III says he’ll forgo his taxpayer-funded salary should the government be forced to shut down, and urged the rest of Congress — and Preisdent Obama — to do the same.

In a letter sent Thursday to colleagues, the West Virginia Democrat said it would be unfair for Congress and the president to continue drawing pay while thousands of government employees didn’t receive a paycheck during a shutdown.

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The senator said he will donate his pay to charity or return it to the Treasury Department for as long as the shutdown is in effect.

“The bottom line is this: I can’t imagine that the president, vice president or any member of Congress —Republican or Democrat — thinks they should get paid when the government has shut down,” Mr. Manchin wrote.

The Senate recently passed legislation that would prohibit Congress and the president from being paid during a shutdown, though the measure has stalled in the House.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately denounced Mr. Manchin’s pledge as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

“This is nothing short of pure political posturing by multi-millionaire Joe Manchin to cover up for the fact that he and his fellow Washington Democrats have failed to do their jobs,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. “Instead of posturing, Joe Manchin should call on his fellow Democrats to pass a fiscally responsible bill that would keep the government open.”

But Mr. Manchin denied his promise was an “empty gesture,” saying “the American people expect more of us.”