In the News

Southerland silent as bipartisan group calls for pay cut

Who is noticeably absent from the 25 bipartisan House members asking the supercommittee to make “commonsense” cuts to their pay to send a “powerful message to the American people that Congress should not be exempt from the sacrifices it will take to balance the budget?” Six figure salary whiner Steve Southerland.
Politico: Giffords: Slash lawmaker pay

By: Jonathan Allen
November 17, 2011 07:10 PM EST

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ aides, backed by 25 House members, have asked the supercommittee to cut lawmakers’ pay as the 12-member panel works to reach a deficit-reduction deal before its Thanksgiving deadline.

Giffords, who is recovering from an assassination attempt, first introduced legislation to slash congressional salaries in January. The Arizona Democrat has been in the news lately because her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, wrote a book about her ordeal.

In a letter to the supercommittee, the bipartisan group of lawmakers write that the cut should be made “both as a commonsense way to cut government spending and to send a powerful message to the American people that Congress should not be exempt from the sacrifices it will take to balance the budget.”

The letter’s signers write that Congress has not had a pay cut since the Great Depression.

Any such cut would not be allowed to take effect until January of 2013 because the Constitution precludes lawmakers from adjusting their own pay in the same Congress that they vote to take the action.

“Congresswoman Giffords strongly feels that members of Congress must lead by example as we tighten federal spending,” Pia Carusone, Giffords’ chief of staff, said in a statement released Thursday night.

Giffords’ office identified Reps. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) as leaders in the effort to put the letter together and gather signatures.

Giffords has made just one appearance on the House floor since she was shot in the head in January in a rampage that killed six people at a constituent-service event in Tucson.

The supercommittee has struggled to come up with the $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction policies that Congress and the president charged it with finding when a debt-limit deal was reached earlier this year.

The savings from a 5 percent cut — the amount sought in Giffords’ bill — would amount to just $50 million over a 10-year period, according to the letter.

Stay in Touch