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Congress offers to cut its pay

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

Some Senators and Republicans might have finally found something that could improve their standing among the public.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have proposed that they take a pay cut.

S. 65, introduced by Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, would repeal the law that allows for automatic lawmaker pay hikes.

There are several companion versions of the measure on the House side.

Another Senate bill, S. 124 by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., would withhold Capitol Hill paychecks for each chamber if its members are unable to pass a budget resolution. A similar "No Budget, No Pay" bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. The H.R. 310 has 59 bipartisan cosponsors.

And H.R. 396, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., who is a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the House Republican Conference Vice Chair, would cut Congress' annual pay 20 percent and keep it from going up until there was no deficit in the previous fiscal year.

"This bill seeks to address Washington's poor fiscal record and encourage members of Congress to get serious about balancing the budget," Jenkins said in a statement upon introducing the bill. She also noted that her measure "goes a step further than other Congressional pay proposals by restricting member pay to 2000 levels, the last time Congress balanced the budget."

While all these no-pay proposals make for good sound bites to feed a public that has a very low opinion of federal lawmakers, there are two problems with all the measures.

First, such pay limits would have little effect on the federal bottom line.

Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, told The Hill newspaper that cutting congressional salaries provides a minuscule amount of savings in the entire budget.

And second, there's no chance any of these no-pay bills will pass either the House or Senate.

Nice try, Congress, but we're wise to your shenanigans. The only sure-fire way to make sure representatives and senators don't get paid is to vote them out of office.

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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and a co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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125 Comments
Neil Friedman
February 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Until our elected representatives have the same benefits that we do, they cannot be objective in voting for cuts on Social Security, Medicare, and Cost of Living increases!

Bob Hoeft
February 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

You know it will never happen. We have too many career congressmen. Term limits is the only way to get Washington straighten out.

PatriotCrsfire
February 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Elected Congressional members who are reelected until retirement recieve in many/most cases paid retirement in excess of $1 million along with free medical care for life in addition to many benifits. We pay for all this just as we pay a median pay of $75,000 to our other hired civil servants with an additional benifit of paid retirement. The time has come that pay & pensions be aligned & adjusted in line with civilian pay scales. Those in public service should not be paid be paid more than those who hired them, wages should be comparable.

Today cival servants whether federal, state or municipal as a whole earn pay & benifits excessively much higher than their civilian counter parts. Considering the recent growth of federal workers there is a noticeable imbalance of favoring all those working in a civil servant capacity than those who pay their salaries.

janice
February 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm

their nuts,and rich

freddy freeloader
February 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Cut all foreign aid, The King and Queen in Washington stay home and not wast MILLIONS flaunting their positions. If the Far East want the American Aircraft Carriers in their waters. they should pay the expense. I agree with ALL above.

Prudy S
February 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!

PatriotCrsfire
February 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

For years through misappropriation & mismanagement Congress has failed to do its sworn duty to protect SS & Medicare. The Social Security "Trust" Fund has been used as Congress' piggy bank paying off political debts & favors for 40+ years. It has paid unearned benifits to illegal aliens both from SS & Medicare. Congress has allowed theft of services & funds to go unchecked due to poor or no supervision of these programs while giving themselves unchallenged annual raises,benifits & perks equal to royalty for recognized poor performance.

It's time that Congressional term limits be imposed with 2 terms for Senate & 3 terms for the House. In addition, because of their performance, Congress should hence forth be covered by SS & Medicare just as those they work for. Current pay & health benifits should be restructured to mirror the military depending on rank in Congress with increases based on Cola's aligned with the military & SS which should be similar.

Shirley
February 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

It's a joke to the American People, they say what we want to hear. They should all be considered part-time and no benefits. If we work part-time we don't get big salary,benefits,pensions- perks -jets-trips and insurance for our families forever. Downsize government -starting at the top - Let them live like the rest of us and maybe they would remember why they were put in office. If we don't have money we don't keep spending and giving money away. That includes some of our wasteful government programs like welfare cell phones and over $80,000 in benefits.The average person doesn't even make that a year. Unemployment - paying prisoners- disability to people who can work. Foreign aid to countries and borrow to do it. Make illegals -Legal- so they can go on the American Dream of Welfare and be taken care of by the working taxpayer but at least they can vote for more free stuff in 2016. Our government has NO COMMON SENSE.

Rose G
February 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

They should not have health benefits for life. They should pay
into Medicare like all of us. They made this mess. Their pensons should be cut like all of us.

Nigel
February 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

"They should get the minimum wage paid in their districts, and only on the days they are actually working on legislation."

Yes - and only for the actual hours worked.