Hats off to the Congressional members who took swift action to refuse their own pay raise in the middle of the country’s historic financial crisis.
Members of the House are expected to consider a bill put forth by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who is part of the charge to oppose President Obama’s “out of touch” decision to lift a federal pay freeze starting in March 2013. Rep. Ken Marchant (R-Texas) said he will co-sponsor Fitzpatrick’s bill.
But his isn’t the only legislation to be considered. Republican lawmakers, Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) & Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) have also announced plans to put forth legislation that would prevent Congress members from getting a $900-a-year pay increase.
“Lifting the pay freeze for Members of Congress at a time when we are working to restore fiscal health to the federal government is unacceptable, and I will work to prevent it,” Fitzpatrick said. “For the past four years, many private sector workers have seen their salaries reduced and small businesses have tightened their belts to ensure our economy remains afloat in these difficult times.”
In addition to writing a letter to President Obama expressing his concerns, Fitzpatrick announced in a release that he will turn down any money given to him.
“I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to join me in demonstrating to the American people that Congress is willing to lead by example and reject this inappropriate and unnecessary pay raise. Should the legislation not pass by March 27th, I will not accept the funds decreed by President Obama’s Executive order.”
Renacci had some of the strongest criticism for the executive order:
“Washington’s dysfunction doesn’t deserve a raise, it needs a hard dose of reality and I am happy to help supply it,” he said in his statement announcing his intention to propose the new legislation.
It’s not only the Republicans that see the folly in Obama’s order. Democratic Congressman John Barrow circulated a much shorter letter among members to send to House leadership:
Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, Leader Pelosi, Whip Hoyer,
We oppose the pay increase for Members of Congress granted by Executive Order on December 27, 2012. The Executive Order would raise our salaries by $900 per year, beginning March 27, 2013.
We believe that it is inappropriate for Members of Congress to receive a pay increase of any size while American families and taxpayers continue to face tough economic times.
We urge you to bring legislation to the floor to stop this pay adjustment as soon as possible.
Twitter was “a tweet” with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle showing their disapproval after President Obama signed the order lifting the pay freeze on Friday. The Hill writer Alexandra Jaffe published some of the tweets that surfaced.
GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.): “DISAGREE with President’s executive order granting pay raise to Congress. I’ve voted against automatic increases & will not accept this one.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.):”With President Obama’s decision to give Congress a pay raise, every American should question his judgment in managing our nation’s finances.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.): “POTUS approved out of touch pay raise for Cong. I’ll intro bill to stop it. W/16T debt and Americans facing tax hike, Cong $ raise is wrong,”
Rep. John Carney (D-Del.):”Members of Congress don’t deserve a pay raise.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.): “Congressional Pay Raise? Worst idea ever. Cut food stamps while boosting Senate salaries? No way!”