Are restrictions in pay for members of Congress and senators really going to happen? Reports this week have it that the House will agree to an increase in the debt limit, but they’re going to condition it on requiring the House and Senate to pass a budget. Paychecks would stop if Congress hasn’t done its budget work.
There’s been a long-running dispute about budgeting, with Republicans claiming that the Senate isn’t passing a budget plan while Senate Democrats claim there’s a budget plan in place.
Should House members’ and senators’ pay be docked if they don’t do their jobs? Should their automatic pay raise be withdrawn? (Believe it or not, current law gives Members of Congress and senators an automatic pay raise if they don’t pass a law rejecting more pay each year.)
Our petition on the subject is called: “No Automatic Pay Raise for Congress!” We’ll be adding some new bills to the petition’s list of related bills. A large number of bills to limit congressional pay have been introduced already in the new, 113th Congress.
Let’s take a look at the bills and what they do. You can vote and comment on each one, tell your friends about the good and bad ones—whatever you want to do! So long as you do something…
Stopping that Automatic Pay Increase, Once of for All Time
H.R. 54 prevents any pay increase happening for representatives in the 113th Congress, but the automatic pay increase would still exist in the law.
H.R. 134 would repeal the law that provides for that automatic pay increase.
H.R. 196 would also eliminate automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress, full stop.
That’s Enough of Those Retirement Bennies
H.R. 52 would terminate further retirement coverage for Members of Congress, except for the right to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is their version of a 401(k).
H.R. 296 would allow Members of Congress to decline certain retirement benefits and contributions by the Federal Government. Might save a couple bucks that way.
Do Your Job or Don’t Get Paid
Then there are the bills that create incentives for good behavior. (The incentive of getting reelected seems not to be very strong—most everyone gets reelected anyway.)
H.R. 167 does a thing that might be clever. It denies Members of Congress their automatic pay increase “in the year following any fiscal year in which outlays of the United States exceeded receipts of the United States.” That means that their pay stays flat if they let the debt increase.
H.R. 308 would require the salaries of Members of Congress to be held in escrow if all regular appropriation bills for a fiscal year have not been enacted by the beginning of the fiscal year. (It can’t be cut straight away because of the 27th Amendment.
H.R. 310 would deny Members of Congress their pay after October 1 of any fiscal year in which Congress they have not approved a budget and passed the regular appropriations bills.
Added 1/24: S. 30 would prevent the 2013 automatic pay increase for “persons holding senior positions in the Federal Government” and it would prevent pay adjustments for Members of Congress in any year there is a budget deficit.
So, there you have it. If it’s your bag to cut Congress’ pay, more is happening on that front than ever.