Taxes Blog

Finance Blogs » Taxes » Congress offers to cut its pay

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.

***

Want the latest news on taxes, tax reform prospects, filing deadlines, Internal Revenue Service alerts and tax-saving tips? Subscribe to Bankrate's free Daily Tax Tip newsletter, our Weekly Tax Tip newsletter or, if you're a true tax geek, both!

You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.

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."

«
»
Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
125 Comments
F.Brown
February 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

These turds think they are better than anyone else, an hourly wage only for hours worked,the same social security etc. The VERY best thing we can do is get TERM LIMITS
for all career polititions. Balanced budget Amendment! Not needed depts of govt
should be sunseted. We no longer need the patriot act, or tsa, or epa, so get rid of them
NOW!

F.Brown
February 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

How about congress having the same retirement and health care that the rest of us have to use?

Ken Minor
February 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm

They're "Civil Servants" by profession. Why not match their pay with their humanitarian title. It IS about time! Ken Minor

laswin
February 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Doesn't matter how much or how little a difference it would make in the deficit. At least THEY would be doing their FAIR SHARE and showing some solidarity with the average American. Agree with you all that they are not doing a good job and would be fired for poor performance if in the private sector. They believe they can make the laws but their actions prove they believe they are above the law and do not have to comply. Matthew 7:18-20, "...we will recognize good people by their fruit. He likens them to trees: bad trees cannot bear good fruit, but good trees do."

john bryant
February 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

IF THEY THINK THAT SOME OF THE WORKING PEOPLE CAN LIVE OF EARNINGS OF $290.00 A WEEK, THEY SHOULD BE PAID THIS AMOUNT. THEY SHOULD ALSO HAVE TO PUNCH A TIME CLOCK,AND BE PAID ONLY FOR THEY WORK SINCE THEY GET MOST OF THEIR MONEY FROM LOBBIST,THEY WOULDN'T BE MISSING MUCH INCOME. A MAN NOR WOMAN, SHOULD HAVE TO SERVE TWO MASTERS

john bryant
February 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

THESE POLITITICANS SHOULD BE PAID ONLY FOR THE HOURS THEY WORK

RichK
February 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Why don't we address the huge pensions these guys draw after a term in congress. If these poeple worked in the Private Sector they would be fired, let alone get all these unearned benefits. What ever happened to Pay for Performance? They get their own Health Care, don't pay into Social Securtiy, ETC, yet sit back and call these "Entitlement" programs.
VOTE them all out of office and get some real Americans in who care about the country.

Kenneth Rueve
February 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Salary freeze What a joke. If you want to get their attention freeze their retirement to social security levels, and then vote them ALL out of office Democrats and Republicans. Lets start over..

JACK G. OTT
February 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm

WILL NOT DO MUCH GOOD AS MONEY IS CONCERNED, IF YOU VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE YHEY WLL START DRAWING THEIR LARGE PENSIONS THAT COMMON WORKING FOLKS NEVER SEE.

Dougbq
February 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

It is not that this has any effect on the total federal expenditures. The point is that Congress is not doing its most basic job and shouldn't be getting paid until it does.