Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Jan 08 2013
Section 902 of the fiscal cliff agreement reads:
SEC. 902. NO COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT IN PAY OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no adjustment shall be made under section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 31) (relating to cost of living adjustments for Members of Congress) during fiscal year 2013.
This language was inserted to override President Obama’s directive to raise congressional salaries when he lifted the federal employee pay freeze. I don’t believe Congress has earned a pay raise, especially in light of the public’s low approval rating of Washington. I often joke that it is better to be introduced as a former eye doctor and small business owner than as a U.S. Senator. There’s some truth in that. The reality is we have a long way to go before we restore the public’s faith in Congress. That’s why I have voted against an automatic Congressional pay raise every year since I was elected to Congress.
It’s the same reason that I signed on as a cosponsor of the No Budget, No Pay Act last Congress. This bill would prohibit members of Congress from being paid if we don’t pass a long-term budget each fiscal year. It’s been over 1,300 days since a binding federal budget resolution has been passed in the Senate. While we’re required to adopt a budget resolution, there’s no penalty for failing to do so and that needs to change. I intend to cosponsor this bill again when it is reintroduced in the new session of Congress.
Washington needs to remember that times are tough across the country. Our economy isn’t getting better, despite what the administration says, and many working families haven’t seen a raise in years. President Obama’s focus needs to be on making the lives of constituents better, not on congressional paychecks.