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Barber: Cut congressional pay 20%

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Blasting possible sequestration cuts to the salaries of Border Patrol agents and civilian defense employees, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber introduced a bill Wednesday that would cut congressional pay by 20 percent. Members of Congress now are paid $174,000; the last time Congress cut its pay was in 1933.

"Congress failed to address sequestration, which threatens Border Patrol agents with salary cuts of up to 40 percent," Barber said in a press release. "It is only right that those of us in Congress share the pain of those agents, defense civilian employees and other federal employees who have been hit in their wallets because of Congress' failure to act."

Budget cuts mandated under sequestration led the Department of Homeland Security to announce furloughs for border agents — one day every two weeks — and steep reductions in overtime. "Taken together, that would cut the pay of agents on the Southwestern border by up to 40 percent," said the release from Barber's spokesman, Mark Kimble.

Representatives and Senators are paid $174,000 per year. The House speaker is paid $223,500, while the Senate president pro tem and majority and minority leaders in both houses are paid $193,400.

The proposed pay cut could not take effect until after the 2014 election; the 27th Amendment does not allow adjustments to pay in between election cycles.

The last time Congress took a cut in pay was in 1933, during the Great Depression. Members' salaries went from $9,000 to $8,500 per year, a 5.6 percent reduction.

In 2011, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords proposed a five-percent pay cut for members of Congress just two days before she was shot in an assassination attempt.

"Members of Congress must set an example and there's no better way to do that than by cutting our own salaries," she said at the time.

While Congress did cut office budgets by five percent in 2011, that pay cut did not pass.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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1519 comments
Apr 10, 2013, 1:04 pm
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I’d like to see Barber introduce a bill banning Congressional candidates that pimp the civility label from basing a campaign on mudslinging toward his opponent.

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Pay Cut for Congress Act

A BILL

To reduce the annual rates of pay of Members of Congress by 20 percent and prohibit further adjustments to such rates.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Pay Cut for Congress Act’’.

SEC. 2. REDUCTION IN ANNUAL RATES OF PAY OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.

(a) RATES OF PAY.—Section 601(a)(1) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 31(1)) is amended by striking ‘‘shall be the rate’’ and all that follows and inserting the following: ‘‘shall be equal to the annual rate of pay for such positions as of the date of the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2014, reduced by 20 percent.’’.

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Section 601(a) of such Act (2 U.S.C. 31) is amended by striking paragraph (2).

(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the first day of the first pay period which begins after the date of the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2014.

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