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Stop Congress's Automatic Pay Hike
February 1, 2008
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to cosponsor bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5087) that would prevent an automatic pay increase for Members of Congress in 2009. Rank-and-file Members of Congress currently make an annual salary of $169,300 (more than double the median household income of $78,978 for the Washington, D.C. metro area, including wealthy suburbs). This sum doesn't include taxpayer funds used for lavish pensions, health plans, and generous allowances for travel, staff, and office expenses. In light of mixed economic indicators, Congress should reject an automatic pay hike that would pad a sizeable Congressional compensation package.
How did this auto-pilot pay raise system come about? As explained by Pete Sepp in the NTU Foundation Policy Paper "Congressional Perks: How the Trappings of Office Trap Taxpayers," it didn't start out this way:
But thanks to a series of post-war measures, culminating in a 1989 "ethics" law, Members of Congress have sought to avoid accountability for salary hikes. Annual pay raises are now tied to the Labor Department's Employment Cost Index:
Even though Members of Congress received automatic pay increases each year between 2000 and 2006, taxpayers were enthused to see the House reject a pay hike for 2007. Our members strongly believe this action should be repeated in 2008. We're counting on you to make a stand against automatic Congressional pay increases by cosponsoring H.R. 5087 and directing the resulting savings toward reducing the deficit.