Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 1085

Should Leftover Money in House Members’ Office Budgets Go to Deficit Reduction?

Argument in favor

The federal debt is growing on a daily basis, and any leftover money in lawmakers’ office budgets (know as the MRA) that can be reclaimed and used to pay down the debt is badly needed. While the custom is already to put unused MRA funds towards the federal debt, it’d be best to codify this process in order to ensure that it continues and prevent the diversion of MRA funds to other purposes.

Fred's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
That or pay back moneys stolen from Social Security!!
Like (173)
Follow
Share
Ken's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
Yes and while you’re at it take back the millions of dollars of endless tax breaks for the corporations. This administration is so out of touch with reality. Dump Trump USA.
Like (114)
Follow
Share
Glowurm's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
If what Kodiwodi says is true, then we need to change it! Not a bad idea. However, I like the idea of returning the money to the Social Security fund, that was stolen, better! I would, also, like an accounting of how much SS money WAS diverted to other purposes, as well as how much in interest was lost, because of that theft! Then, I want it changed so that they can NEVER TOUCH THE FUND AGAIN. Furthermore, if you did not contribute to the fund, you have no right to receive funds from it! I don’t know if the latter actually happens, but just in case it does...
Like (47)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Rather than redirecting leftover MRA money to the federal debt, it’d be better to increase the MRA in order to pay staffers and interns living wages and make working on Capitol Hill accessible to those whose families don’t have the means to subsidize subpar wages. Additionally, the appropriations process already includes a provision requiring unused MRA money to go towards servicing the federal debt.

Michael's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
It should go to social security to replace what has been taken from it by our government.
Like (115)
Follow
Share
Kodiwodi's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
Money can’t be paid back to Social Security out of the General funds. This really is not The problem. If it’s kept to pay staffers higher wages, great. What we really need is to make sure that extra monies in each Departments operational budget is returned without fear that their budget will be cut the following year because they managed to economize this year. This is a huge problem. Since this money cannot be rolled forward to help next years projects, departments spend on needless equipment, Entertainment and lobster dinners. This is the problem that needs to be fixed. And while putting it in Social Security’s Trust fund sounds like a great idea, they are two separate budgets. Excess from Congressional budgets goes to the Treasury Department. Social Security $$ goes to the Trust Fund and in theory at least, never the twain shall meet. Glowurm I am correct. The amount “borrowed” is 2.8 trillion dollars which is sort of ludicrous as there is actually no money in the Trust Fund. It’s all been invested in Special Interest Bonds as required. It was borrowed to fund a war. Commingling the budgets would be a horrible idea as that would give Congress free access to Social Security funds.
Like (72)
Follow
Share
burrkitty's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
Poor pocket change. This “use it or lose it” annual budget gluttony is the reason our government departments are AFRAID TO ECONOMIZE. If they could roll over unused funds to the next year, or even save up for several years to fund specific projects, this would be less of a problem. People like to make a stupid comparison to households or businesses budgets and the government budget, and this is one thing that NO-ONE EVER FIXES that doesn’t happen in households or businesses at the end of the year. If you save on groceries that year, you don’t lose your extra money or have your grocery budget slashed. Fix this “use it or lose it” problem and other things will sort themselves out.
Like (53)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedFebruary 7th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1085?

This bill — the Give it Back to the Taxpayers Act — would require that any money left in Members’ Representational Allowances (MRA) at the end of each fiscal year be deposited in the Treasury to be used for deficit reduction or reducing the federal debt.

Impact

Congress; Congressional staff; Members’ Representational Allowances (MRA); federal debt; and deficit reduction.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1085

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) introduced this bill to require all unused funds from Members’ Representational Allowances (MRA) to be returned to the Treasury Dept. for the purposes of deficit reduction or reducing the federal debt:

“Today our national debt stands at $21,968,156,302,745 and growing. Members of Congress must lead by example and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. My bill will return millions of dollars back to the treasury to help reduce our crippling national debt and deficit.”

In a statement to The Western Journal, Rep. Lesko added that this bill seeks to help the federal government “live within its means”:

“The federal government must live within its means. Our future generations are going to be crippled with debt if the federal government cannot get its fiscal house in order. With our debt at over $22 trillion, we must act to preserve our national security and give our economy the stability it needs.”

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who, in a shift from the congressional tradition of paying staff below a living wage, is paying her interns $15 and hour and staffers a minimum of $52,000 year (versus the current norm of unpaid Capitol Hill internships and an average junior staffer salary of slightly less than $29,500 a year for an average of 50-59 hours of work a week), argues that the MRA should actually be increased to allow members to pay their staffers a living wage. In a tweet on December 3, 2018, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:

“This week I went to dive spot in DC for some late night food. I chatted up the staff. SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers *currently worked in Senate + House offices.* This is a disgrace. Congress of ALL places should raise MRAs so we can pay staff an actual DC living wage.”

In a follow-up tweet, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez added that it’s “unjust” for Congress to underpay staffers and interns:

“It is unjust for Congress to budget a living wage for ourselves, yet rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about ‘fiscal responsibility.’ If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.”

In fact, there’s broad support for increasing existing staff’s pay on Capitol Hill. In a Vox survey of 441 congressional staffers in 2017, 68 percent of senior supervising staff listed “increasing pay for existing staff” as their top priority when asked how they’d allocate increases in office budgets. However, a veteran Democratic staffer noted that both parties have made increasing office budgets politically untenable:

“You can imagine a place where I’m a Democrat, I say, ‘I’m going to go vote for increased budgets [for Congress].’ What are they going to say? The partisans on the outside? Even if I came up with a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat who work together to say, ‘We all need more money for [Congress].’ We both vote for it. We’re going to have the ads that say we just voted to increase our budgets. We [Democrats] doing this. And I have a problem with it. We are attacking [a Republican incumbent] for paying her staff. We demagogue in order to win. Until we fix that problem, I don’t know how you fix [the staff] problem here. And if you’re a Freedom Caucus guy, how do you tell the guy who’s parading out in front of your office in a tri-corner hat that you just voted to increase the budget for Congress? When all they’re doing is saying, ‘Kick the bums out.’”

This bill has six Republican cosponsors.


Of NoteSince 1996, members of the House have had one consolidated allowance, the Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA), to help pay for operating their offices. MRA funds are used for congressional staff pay, official travel, rent and utilities for district offices, communications and franked mail, and office supplies and equipment.

In FY 2019, the MRA was $573.6 million (an increase of $11 million, or two percent, over the FY 2017 and FY 2018 figures of $564.6 million), working out to around $1.3 million per member of Congress. Some members receive more or less money for their offices depending on the districts they represent.

Since the MRA’s establishment, appropriations acts funding it have contained — or, in the case of a continuing resolution, continued — a provision requiring unused amounts in the MRA to be used for deficit reduction or to reduce the federal debt. Numerous bills and resolutions governing the use of unexpended MRA balances, including bills seeking to require leftover MRA funds to go toward deficit reduction, have also been introduced multiple times.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Bill Oxford)

AKA

Give it Back to the Taxpayers Act

Official Title

To require any amounts remaining in Members' Representational Allowances at the end of a fiscal year to be deposited in the Treasury and used for deficit reduction or to reduce the Federal debt.

    That or pay back moneys stolen from Social Security!!
    Like (173)
    Follow
    Share
    It should go to social security to replace what has been taken from it by our government.
    Like (115)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes and while you’re at it take back the millions of dollars of endless tax breaks for the corporations. This administration is so out of touch with reality. Dump Trump USA.
    Like (114)
    Follow
    Share
    Money can’t be paid back to Social Security out of the General funds. This really is not The problem. If it’s kept to pay staffers higher wages, great. What we really need is to make sure that extra monies in each Departments operational budget is returned without fear that their budget will be cut the following year because they managed to economize this year. This is a huge problem. Since this money cannot be rolled forward to help next years projects, departments spend on needless equipment, Entertainment and lobster dinners. This is the problem that needs to be fixed. And while putting it in Social Security’s Trust fund sounds like a great idea, they are two separate budgets. Excess from Congressional budgets goes to the Treasury Department. Social Security $$ goes to the Trust Fund and in theory at least, never the twain shall meet. Glowurm I am correct. The amount “borrowed” is 2.8 trillion dollars which is sort of ludicrous as there is actually no money in the Trust Fund. It’s all been invested in Special Interest Bonds as required. It was borrowed to fund a war. Commingling the budgets would be a horrible idea as that would give Congress free access to Social Security funds.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    Poor pocket change. This “use it or lose it” annual budget gluttony is the reason our government departments are AFRAID TO ECONOMIZE. If they could roll over unused funds to the next year, or even save up for several years to fund specific projects, this would be less of a problem. People like to make a stupid comparison to households or businesses budgets and the government budget, and this is one thing that NO-ONE EVER FIXES that doesn’t happen in households or businesses at the end of the year. If you save on groceries that year, you don’t lose your extra money or have your grocery budget slashed. Fix this “use it or lose it” problem and other things will sort themselves out.
    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
    If what Kodiwodi says is true, then we need to change it! Not a bad idea. However, I like the idea of returning the money to the Social Security fund, that was stolen, better! I would, also, like an accounting of how much SS money WAS diverted to other purposes, as well as how much in interest was lost, because of that theft! Then, I want it changed so that they can NEVER TOUCH THE FUND AGAIN. Furthermore, if you did not contribute to the fund, you have no right to receive funds from it! I don’t know if the latter actually happens, but just in case it does...
    Like (47)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm with AOC on this. It's a disgrace that congressional staff is paid subpar wages while Congress is well paid. Any amount leftover in the funds at the end of the year would not be enough to make a significant change in the debt. If Republicans are serious about reducing the debt then they can start by reinstating reasonable tax rates on the top 1% and large corporations who no longer pay taxes.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    “LESCO” House Bill H.R. 1085 AKA the Give it Back to the Taxpayers Act I’m in STRONG support of and recommend the passage of the “LESCO”House Bill H.R. 1085 AKA the “Give it Back to the Taxpayers Act” — would require that any money left in Members’ Representational Allowances (MRA) at the end of each fiscal year be deposited in the Treasury to be used for deficit reduction or reducing the federal debt. The federal debt is growing on a daily basis, and any leftover money in lawmakers’ office budgets (know as the MRA) that can be reclaimed and used to pay down the debt is badly needed. While the custom is already to put unused MRA funds towards the federal debt, it’d be best to codify this process in order to ensure that it continues and prevent the diversion of MRA funds to other purposes. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻LESKO👍🏻👍🏻. 4*7*19..........
    Like (31)
    Follow
    Share
    I totally agree with others here; the money should go to our anorexic Social Security accounts. In addressing the House/Senate staffers, I believe there is a great waste of monies from representatives who use their money in their budgets to increase their standing on the political stage, i.e., publicists, PR agencies, etc. Stop trying to blare your own horns and pay your staffers what they deserve!
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    The amount of money that the Treasury actually gets back for deficit reduction is probably peanuts compared to what the actual deficit is. And sending some of the money back from MRA is already standard practice. Instead, this money should be used to pay staffers so that they can actually afford to live in DC where they work! Also, I’ve got a good idea how to pay down the debt: reverse the Trump tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts, raise taxes on the wealthy overall, and make corporations pay their fair share!
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    WOW! Who would think of this simple solution in this complex political world? Then there are some wishing to build a WALL while others are trying to build the national DEBT.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Every last dollar from not only the house but senate to.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Instead of using it for unnecessary items return the money to repay deficit.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    🧨How about we simply eliminate their “allowance” all together? They are not 6. Congressional leaders and they make a good salary AND THEY HAVE HEALTH CARE. In fact, maybe it would be more fiscally prudent to make them a 1099 Contract employee with a 2 year contract⁉️Then they taxpayers don’t have to fund their healthcare. 💰Congressional leaders can fund their own career advancement. Same as the rest of the taxpayers do.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    No brainer. If all agencies did this we would save so much on interest? I’m sure this would put a dent in the deficit.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Giving back budget money that goes unspent to reduce the deficit only makes sense.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Great idea. Or better put it in the Social Security fund.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    That’s how you run a business. If you have a surplus you don’t just get to spend it just because you want the same amount less year. The idea is to become efficient. Thank god I don’t run my business this way or I’d be broke.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    Do we really need to micromanage our legislators in this way? They are required by law to report regularly on how those funds are spent. That’s good enough for me!
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    The greatest return on investments is our children. They are the future of America. Give them the education they deserve to be the best. We owe it to them.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE