30 December 2008

Congress and its automatic pay raise

The fact that Congress doesn't even seem to want to take up the issue of foregoing its annual automatic pay raise is impressive. Thankfully, there are a few in Congress who realize that all Americans should tighten their belts. Even those who have contributed to the current financial mess.

(All emphases below are mine).

Matheson again fights automatic pay hike

"Despite the country's economic meltdown, Congress is about to receive an automatic $4,700 pay raise on Thursday — a 2.8 percent increase over the current $169,300 salary for most members.

Rep. Jim Matheson says that is unconscionable, and he's vowing to renew his annual fight to stop such automatic raises. He says the bad economy might just help him win this year, and a government watchdog group is joining his battle to say the raise is a bad idea in such times.

'In a situation where there aren't many people in this country who are seeing their salaries go up, and in fact a lot of people are losing their jobs, the notion that Congress should be having an automatic pay raise without even a vote just doesn't pass the smell test,' Matheson said earlier this month.

Agreeing is Tom Schantz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste — which also issued a call for Congress to stop its automatic pay raise.

'While thousands of Americans are facing layoffs and downsizing, Congress should be mortified to accept a raise,' Schantz said.

Worse, Schantz said Congress hasn't earned a raise because it allowed the deficit to balloon while Congress was 'plagued with corruptions allegations.' So, Schantz said, 'If congressional leaders believe that the taxpayers should give pay raises to this rogues' gallery of ineptitude and venality, they ought to step away from the spiked eggnog.'"

Congress doesn't deserve a raise? I concur.

I have to hand it to Matheson as he has been attempting to force a yearly vote on annual Congressional pay raises instead of leaving them as automatic, "Since Matheson entered Congress, he has attempted every year to force Congress to vote on whether to accept a raise rather than receive it automatically. He has always failed on procedural votes that would lead to such a straight up-or-down vote."

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