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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
jtwalter
February 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

WHEN I WAS LITTLE AND AS AN ADULT, WE GOT PAID WHEN WE WORKED AND GOT THE JOB DONE, IF THAT DIDNT' HAPPEN , WE DID NOT GET PAID.....CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW WASHINGTON D.C., IT'S A VERY SIMPLE BASIC HONEST STANDARD TO LIVE BY AND A GREAT EXAMPLE OF BEING RESPONSIBLE ADULTS'S. I WAS TAUGHT AND RAISED BY A GREAT EXAMPLE, MY PARENT'S, THEY RAISED 8 WONDERFUL CHILDREN. GOD BLESS THEM....

Fred
February 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

Congress taking a pay cut? What a joke!!!! They don't have the decency, courage or respect for the American people to take such steps!
Congress is the most corrupt legal organization in the country, followed by the present administration.

neb
February 25, 2013 at 7:21 am

Even if you vote them out of office they still get paid a handsome retirement. Term limits might be a better idea.

Bill
February 25, 2013 at 6:15 am

What an insult on the intellegence of the american people. get your a-- to work and do your jobs or get out you brainless bunch of incosiderate people. from the pres on down

terrance
February 25, 2013 at 5:06 am

i wish they would, they don't do anything to earn it anyway!

Edward Bajak
February 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

If Republicans think that minimum hourly pay increase will cut jobs in America, let them try to live on that existing minimum wages and see how long they can make it that way.This is ridicules, how some politicians can be so blind and so hypocritical and still be reelected back to the Senate by the same people who where bitter affected by their rules and laws, and never learn a lesson how to vote right in the next election.

JOHN T LOWERY
February 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm

THE PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON CARES ONLY FOR THEMSELVES. THAY ARE A BUNCH OF CROOKS. THEY WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED. YOU CAN'T TRUST THEM. THEY WILL BE THE DOWN FALL OF OUR COUNTRY.

Isaac J. French
February 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Put Congress and all federal employees on Social Security. Put a 5% (five percent) tempoary surtax to be used only for and until the National Debt is paid off. This includes everyone, rich and poor alike who has anual income of $2,000.00 or more. THis is not to be used to increase the debt by 5%. Combined with a better economy this should work. Once paid, no more National Debt, unless a National Emergency happens. I am on Social Security and I will have to pay my 5% Thank You - Retired Senior

Theresa von Phul
February 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

These people will say WHATEVER to be re-elected.

Here is the long term solution: No Pay whatsoever. They come to Washington DC once per year for a 30 day session. COmplete their business and return home to the PRIVATE SECTOR.

At that point they earn their own pay thru performance, save their own $$, pay their own bills as a private citizen who must operate under THE EXACT SAME LAWS AS US. Just as the FOunders did.

We can get into a discussion of FAIR taxation later.

Thank you for reading this post.

Frank Lemezis
February 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

For fairness our politicians should get paid minimum wage and lobbyists should be outlawed. We need to get back to by the people for the people concept instead of everyone for themselves.