Freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis rejects congressional perks

Congressman Ron DeSantisIn an effort to keep his promise to shun congressional perks, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., announced Monday that he is rejecting the taxpayer-subsidized benefits offered to members of Congress. DeSantis is one of only a few turning down congressional pension and federal health insurance benefits.

DeSantis released the following statement:

“I didn’t run for Congress for the perks,” said Rep. DeSantis. “I ran for office to be the type of citizen legislator our Founding Fathers envisioned and to change the prevailing culture in Washington.”

The National Journal recently reported that Members of Congress are entitled to a pension program that costs roughly $28 million annually and which enables some lawmakers to pull down six-figure pensions on an annual basis. Additionally, Members of Congress receive federally funded health insurance benefits that exceed the health insurance benefits possessed by many Americans, especially those who have been or will be negatively affected by the 2010 health care law. Rep. DeSantis and his wife have purchased health insurance that is both less generous and more costly than the congressional health plan subsidized by taxpayers.

“I do not believe that elected officials should be provided pensions at taxpayer expense,” Rep. DeSantis added. “I have co-sponsored a bill in Congress to end taxpayer-funded pensions for politicians, but until that becomes law I think it is important to lead by example.”

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