The clock struck 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday with congressional lawmakers incapable of reaching an agreement on a short-term measure to fund the government. The failure led to the first government shutdown since 1996, and stood as another low point for a Congress that's pretty much only had low points.

With the historically unpopular Congress now responsible for losing the paychecks of as many as 800,000 federal workers -- at least until it can come up with an agreement to end the shutdown -- many would think it only fair to expect lawmakers to feel some of the financial pain of their latest embarrassment. Instead, this is happening:


Your representatives will still be getting their paychecks, so they'll be free to keep on cozying up next to their six-figure salaries.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives make a constitutionally protected $174,000 a year. For many of the massively wealthy individuals that serve in Congress, this amount may be inconsequential. Others probably wish they could take in more.

A handful of lawmakers have said they'll donate their pay to charity during the shutdown, instead of rolling in it like "Geni-Cakes" the cat. Among them is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a key orchestrator of the GOP's plan to agree to fund the government only if Democrats vote to defund or delay Obamacare, the law that was passed by Congress in 2010, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012 and on Tuesday launched its highly anticipated health insurance exchanges, just as the government shut down.

Of course, even if your congressman's pay was determined by some sort of political need for karmic balance, the shutdown is still a raw deal for hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees and the larger American public. Key federal agencies, national parks and the stock market will all feel the pain of the shutdown. These cutbacks will limit critical services and damage financial stability across the nation.

As for lawmakers themselves, perhaps they should enjoy their comfortable congressional salaries while they have them. A recent poll of Americans showed that blame for the shutdown is more likely to be placed on Congress -- and especially Republicans -- than on President Barack Obama. Of course, if voters were to exact retribution for this disaster and vote members of Congress out, many lawmakers would likely just continue along the typical lifecycle of a Washington politician: Move to a lobbying firm, make a boatloads more money, and be freed from the stress of that whole governing thing they've proven so terrible at.

You really need a gift from this baby sloth.


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  • This video image provided by House Television shows Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012.

  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on the floor of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohion) seems to fight back tears while listening to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol March 9, 2011 in Washington, DC. Gillard emphasized the long and strong bond between her country and the U.S.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) seems to fight back tears while listening to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol March 9, 2011 in Washington, DC. Gillard emphasized the long and strong bond between her country and the United States.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) seems to fight back tears while listening to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol March 9, 2011 in Washington, DC. Gillard emphasized the long and strong bond between her country and the United States.

  • Fighting back tears as he recounted his rise from humble beginnings to the presumed Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) addresses the Republican National Congressional Committee's midterm election results watch party at the Grand Hyatt hotel November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Major news organizations have said that the Republicans will win enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

  • Fighting back tears as he recounted his rise from humble beginnings to the presumed Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) addresses the Republican National Congressional Committee's midterm election results watch party at the Grand Hyatt hotel November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Major news organizations have said that the Republicans will win enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

  • House Republican leader John Boehner, R-OH, fights back tears as he addresses the National Republican Congressional Committee Election Night Results Watch event in Washington, DC, on November 2, 2010. An emotional John Boehner, the presumed speaker-elect of the US House of Representatives, told fellow Republicans at the victory party that Americans have sent President Obama message to 'change course'.

  • Fighting back tears as he recounted his rise from humble beginnings to the presumed Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) addresses the Republican National Congressional Committee's midterm election results watch party at the Grand Hyatt hotel November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Major news organizations have said that the Republicans will win enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

  • Astronaut Neil Armstrong (L) recievces the Congressional Gold Medal from Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol November 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. The gold medals were presented to Armstrong and his fellow crew members from Apollo 11, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, and to astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-Ohio), the first American to orbit the Earth.

  • Astronaut Neil Armstrong receives the Congressional Gold Medal from Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol November 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. The gold medals were presented to Armstrong and his fellow crew members from Apollo 11, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, and to astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-Ohio), the first American to orbit the Earth.

  • House Speaker John Boehner <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufYmnD3fhfk&feature=related" target="_hplink">chokes up in an interview on CBS</a>.

  • Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) wipes his eyes as outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prepares to hand over over the speaker's gavel following his election in the House chamber January 5, 2011 in Washington, DC.