Friday, February 05, 2010

Harry Mitchell on blocking the Congressional pay raise

From an email from Congressman Harry Mitchell (with minor changes to links to clean them up, but no changes to content) -
Each year since being elected to Congress, I’ve introduced legislation to block the annual raise for Members of Congress. With all the economic challenges our country is facing, and so many families struggling to make ends meet, I believe it would be simply unconscionable for members of Congress to raise their own pay.

Unfortunately, unless Congress takes action, all members of Congress will be receiving a pay raise next year. In 1989, Congress approved a process that provides lawmakers with an automatic pay raise every January unless they vote specifically to reject the raise.

That’s why I, along with my colleague Rep. Ron Paul, have again introduced legislation to prevent Members of Congress from receiving the next scheduled pay raise.

Last year, our efforts helped to successfully block the Fiscal Year 2010 pay raise and we saved taxpayers $2.5 million by blocking the Fiscal Year 2010 pay raise for members of Congress. In 2008 and 2009, when I received a pay raise over my objection, I donated those pay raises to Arizona charities, dividing the donations among 10 local non-profit organizations.

This year’s bill, H.R. 4255, the Stop the Automatic Pay Raise for Members of Congress in Fiscal Year 2011 Act, currently has support from more than 120 members of Congress. Our bill has also earned national endorsements from Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union.

President Obama has frozen pay for senior White House employees, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts broke with tradition and did not request a pay raise for federal judges for Fiscal Year 2011. I believe that Congress should follow in their lead, and enacting my bill is an important first step.

Right now we need our focus to be on getting people back to work, shoring up the economy, and keeping our families and communities safe -- not on giving ourselves a raise.

As always, I look forward to being able to provide you with regular updates and continue our dialogue on fiscal responsibility in the future.





Thane Eichenauer said...

I offer Mr. Mitchell a huh-rah for his bill.

Ron Paul is a cosponsor and active supporter of this bill.

Even so this bill (if passed) is but a mere glassful of savings in an ocean of spending.

cpmaz said...

Yes it is more symbolic than substantive, but it is an important symbol.

Unlike AZ's legislators ($24K/year), Congresscritters are adequately compensated (at ~$170K, that's putting it mildly).

They can forego a raise for a year.