Do Nothing, Get Raise

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, having done virtually nothing whatsoever since taking over in January, has patted itself on the back and given itself a raise in pay. Welcome to Washington.

Democrats have for weeks been privately wringing their hands over whether to accept an automatic 2.5 percent pay increase, fretting that the raise may appear inconsistent with their campaign promises.

But last night, the House made its peace with it, rejecting a bid to block the automatic cost-of-living raise of about $4,400 on a 244 to 181 vote.

Sources say Majority Leader Steny Hoyer supported accepting a bump in the $165,200-per-year salary since the Democrats kept their word by quickly pushing through the first federal minimum-wage increase in nearly a decade after taking power in January.

But Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel– ever conscious of ensuring that Democrats stay in power — was said to be a bit skittish about it, because Democrats made the raise a big issue during the elections. The Illinois congressman has long donated his salary increases to charity.

Emanuel is right to be skittish. The Democratic noise machine was in full power mode yesterday to try to get a meme started that the Republicans were "obstructionist" – for using exactly the same tactics in the Senate that the Democrats used when in the minority, mind you. (When they were doing it, they painted themselves as champions of the underdog.)  Memeorandum had a bunch of prominent left-wingers all spouting the same well-coordinated "spontaneous" language on that subject. But there is no cover for them in the House where nothing has been accomplished of any real value since Pelosi took the gavel. Yet they just took a raise for themselves. Expect that little fact to come back to haunt them around election time.

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4 Responses to Do Nothing, Get Raise

  1. Pingback: I Want My Cost of Living Raise Too

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  3. Bill Franklin says:

    You’d expect this of Democrats – automatic pay increases that are not tied to performance.

    However unless my research is faulty, congress rejected the pay raises every year until 2000, when Bush was elected and there was no chance of a veto. Then the pay raises were happily accepted every year until 2006. One would have hoped that during those six years the Republicans would have abolished the law, not accepted the pay raises every year.

    Yet another example where Republicans like to claim they’re fiscal conservatives, but actions don’t follow the talk.

  4. Cd1234567891 says:

    The automatic raises for Congress were enacted as a result of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 [voted in during Bush, Sr’s tenure with Republican controlled]. The pay increases were Accepted 11 times thereafter starting in the first effective year 1991; 10 times during which the House and/or Senate were under Republican control. The automatic increase was Rejected only six times: 3 times under republicans and 3 times under democrats. But make no mistake, both parties have mutual interests in automatic increases. [Stats from: http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/97-1011.pdf

    (IMO) it is fiscal irresponsibility to increase Congress' pay at a time when the US Government is spending billions and billions of dollars on war, and has a stratospheric budget deficit.

    The battle is not over. The Senate also has to act. Further, on 6/29/07, U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell [D, Arizona] introduced legislation that would block the automatic pay raise (bill number not yet assigned).

    The House voting record in favor of no debate on the automatic pay raise (H.Res.517) can be found at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll580.xml .

    Email your House representative and Senators to let them know:

    No more pay increases for Congress until the War is OVER, and they bring our men and women home.

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