Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No more automatic pay raises for Congress

Russ Feingold (D-WI) only accept a pay raise after he wins reeclection. Every other year, Feingold returns the pay raise that Congress gives themselves. Feingold is fighting to end these automatic pay raises for member's of Congress.

I’m sure that you, and every single other person across our country, would like a job that gives you an automatic, few thousand dollar, pay raise every year. Doesn’t matter the state of your company, doesn’t matter how well you’ve performed, you just get the pay raise every year no matter what. Sounds great right? Currently, if you’re a member of the House or Senate, that’s what happens and after years of fighting this flawed, back-door pay raise system, we’ve finally made some progress on this issue.

As you may know, I don’t take pay raises during each of my six-year terms in office, and I return such increases to the Treasury Department. And I'm pleased that this year during a time of major economic woes Congress voted down a 2009 pay raise for itself. But trust me, after pressing this issue for a number of Congresses, that’s usually not the case, and if we don’t act, Congress is scheduled to get another raise come 2010.

Last evening, Senator Harry Reid and I were able to pass through the Senate legislation that ends the automatic pay raise system. If this legislation makes it through the House, and is signed by the President, that means that when Congress wants to give itself a raise in the future, it must do so through legislation, in the light of day.

But this bill has to make it through the House first and while I’m hopeful that members will do the right thing, I’m concerned that far too many still don’t get it.

Now is the time, when Americans in every state are hurting economically, when we all outraged by the taxpayer funded bonuses paid to executives at AIG, to once and for all end a corrupt automatic pay raise system that only spurs distrust with people around the country.

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