On April 22, the Senate passed S. 3244, a bill to block automatic pay hikes for Members of Congress in 2011. We wrote an endorsement letter for a similar bill in the House, H.R. 4255, sponsored by Representatives Harry Mitchell and Ron Paul. We also supported H.R. 4720, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick's Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act. Her legislation would halt the scheduled hike and reduce overall salaries by 5 percent.
Rank-and-file Members of Congress currently make an annual salary of $174,000. This sum does not include taxpayer funds used for lavish pensions, health plans, and generous allowances for travel, staff, and office expenses. Given the current economic climate, it is inexcusable for Congress to pad its already sizeable compensation package as our nation continues to face 10 percent unemployment.
We commend the Senate for passing this legislation and hope the House will move forward and consider H.R. 4255 and H.R. 4720. During these tough financial times, families across the nation are cutting back to make ends meet. Congress should be doing the same.