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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
Earl Gum Jr
February 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

This is just boloney it is already Legislated to get their money first day of elected office. The rest of working have until payday.

Peter B
February 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

ALL federal employees, congressmen/women & Senators should be included in the mandatory paycut as a result of the Sequester Budget cuts. Simply put: No Budget, No Pay

chuck holmer
February 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm

This is nothing but a token move - they need to give up all their perks - such as free health care for life. Maybe they should all be paid for performance - most of them do not even show up for votes - only for the high profile issues so they get camera time. As a senior with a fixed income I am fearful of social security cuts or elimination, Obama care - I do not think anyone understands what this will do for the average american - and of course the members of the government including Obama will not have this coverage. I love America, but am very disillusioned with our government

amsoroka
February 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

well, well, looke at this only some of you are thinking of a pay cut. not all of you. this congress is the poorest excuse of a goverment. that said they would work togather. if you really think about it. they have all their own agenda, instead of putting the American people and the United States of America at the for front of leadership, they are playing Grab --ss with each other and our money. why not get serious about being a sentor or congressman/woman and put USA first and formost. we all have had to take cuts, pay more, and do without. except for you up in the GOVERMENT. WHO is suppose to respensent us. and shoulder the same burden as we do,,, lets get it togather for all of our sake...

Marshall Hart
February 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Congress calls Social Security "An Entitlement"

What do they call their Retirement, Healthcare after they are finished servicing us? Servicing as in the sexual context.
Servicing us is exactly what they do.

DOG1
February 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Even if they did cut their own pay it would be more than replaced by the bribes (oops I meant "campaign contributions") they get from big oil, weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and the Israelis etc etc. In fact a pay cut would just be an incentive to do more for their rich clients (in prostitution they're called "johns")

Thomas Cryan
February 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Great comment from David Coffman who should run for Office ?
If all of congress put there money from there retirement into
S.S. and Medicare that would fix S.S. forever. Because that would put them with the rest of the Country. Just a dream!!

Tom Pain
February 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I'd like to suggest they cut their salaries to minimum wage.

Arino
February 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

is anyone from our gov't going to read any of this or even care about the common man and who pays all there bills ! i think not.

Tracy
February 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

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