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Even on Capitol Hill, there’s sometimes an outbreak of what looks to be good government and common sense. One such eruption came on February 10th in the U.S. House of Representatives.
That’s when the number two Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, announced that, by gollies, America’s lawmakers get it. They get that these are hard times for folks, with jobs disappearing, income falling, and pensions depleted – the future looks bleak.
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So, to show solidarity and respect, he wanted everyone to know in advance that Washington lawmakers were going to make their own sacrifices by forgoing the automatic pay increases they otherwise would start drawing at the beginning of next year. In today’s rough economy, Hoyer noted, it simply would be “inappropriate” for members of congress to feather their own nests.
Way to go, Steny!
But, wait – what’s that sticking out of his pockets? Why it’s $5,000 in fresh cash that Hoyer, along with the vast majority of our other congress critters, pocketed from a pay raise congress gave itself last month!
Excuse me, but wasn’t 2008 an economic disaster, too? Indeed, congress has spent the last several months bemoaning America’s collapsing economy and berating greedheaded Wall Street bankers who were grabbing bonuses and perks for themselves while the financial system went down. But, in January, the congressional bemoaners and beraters quietly grabbed an extra 5K of taxpayer dollars for themselves. What had they done last year to earn that pay increase?
Congratulations to the 35 lawmakers who stood against this unconscionable January raise, refusing to take their share of it. We’ve listed the “Stand Up 35” on my website, so to see if your representative is one of them, go to www.jimhightower.com/eyeoncongress.
“Congress should return ’09 pay raise,” www.wctrib.com, February 11, 2009.
“No. 2 Democrat: Congress to give up 2010 pay raises,” www.freep.com, February 10, 2009.
“Harry Mitchell, Ron Paul seek to block pay raise for Congress,” www.bizjournals.com, January 5, 2009.