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house Bill H.R. 751

Should Automatic Pay Raises for Congress Be Eliminated?

Argument in favor

Automatic pay raises for Congress allow lawmakers to boost their pay without having to go on record in a vote. Ending this practice and putting lawmakers on record about their pay raises would make Congress more accountable to the public for what it pays itself and deter unwarranted pay raises.

Andrew's Opinion
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03/22/2019
Nothing in the Federal budget should be allowed to grow automatically.
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Chester 's Opinion
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03/22/2019
Yes absolutely! I can’t give myself a raise, why should Congress be able to do that. I think it should be voted on by the people. It might fix our broken Congress who seem to be working for themselves instead of the American people!
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SamJenkins's Opinion
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03/22/2019
Congress’s pay should be related to their performance such as passing legislation in a timely manner. Stay on budget and representing their constituents.
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Argument opposed

It’s expensive to be a member of Congress. In addition to maintaining a residence in their district, most members have homes in D.C.; they also have to routinely travel between D.C. and their home districts. Pay raises help ensure that serving in Congress is accessible to members of lesser means.

Jeff's Opinion
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03/22/2019
No one deserves an automatic raise. If we put contributions from the 1% out in the open for everyone to see, that might help. We should do what some other countries do. Campaigns get the same amount of money each. Campaigns run for for about a month or so. Everything is exposed to the light of day. Those who have a problem with this apporach likely have something to hide, and with good reason.
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Scott's Opinion
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03/22/2019
Reducing compensation just moves congress toward the 1%. How can we have citizen representatives if they aren’t paid equitably?
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Sylvia's Opinion
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03/22/2019
To everyone who’s saying congressional pay raises should end, look at who’s proposing it. Another elected millionaire who claims to be doing it “for the people” when it doesn’t ACTUALLY help the people AT ALL. It only further guarantees those in office are independently wealthy, widening the divide between them (the ruling class) and us (the working class) Also, eliminating pay increases would entice the few remaining who don’t take lobbyist or PAC $$ to NEED to take advantage of the legalized bribery we have for public officials. If you want to help the people, support a bill that says that whatever standard of living or pay increases congress receives should go to all federal employees as well as requiring private firms keep pace with them. THAT would help MILLIONS of working class Americans!
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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
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 751?

This bill — the No Vote, No Raise Act — would end automatic pay raises for members of Congress. Currently, Congress receives automatic pay increases unless it votes to stop its own pay increases. Because Congress can’t make changes to its own pay during a legislative session, this bill would take effect on December 31, 2020.

Impact

Congress; and Congressional pay.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 751

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Robert “Bob” Latta (R-OH) introduced this bill to eliminate automatic pay raises for members of Congress:

“Most people don’t know that Members of Congress receive automatic pay increases unless they vote to stop them. This can often shield Members from having to take a vote to increase their own pay. With faith in Congress close to a record low, the No Vote, No Raise Act would ensure that U.S. Representatives and Senators would have to go on record to increase their salary and be accountable for their vote.”

In a letter to his Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill, Rep. Latta wrote:

“Many of our constituents do not receive an automatic pay increase, and neither should Members of Congress.  That is why I am re-introducing the No Vote, No Raise Act that repeals the provision of law that provides for this automatic increase.  If any increases need to take place, I believe Congress should have a transparent and public vote to do so.”

There have been multiple pasts attempts to end automatic pay raises for Congress. As early as 2008, then-Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) expressed his opposition to the practice by donating his extra pay to charity, and argued that there should be a public vote for Congressional pay raises:

“I don't know who could justify it. And what's worst of all is, it happens without Congress even taking any action. These congressmen were very clever years ago in setting up a process where it automatically happens without a vote of Congress. And that has been my big complaint for the eight years I have been in Congress is that we ought to have a vote. We ought to have a public vote and congressmen ought to be on the record about whether in a given year their pay should go up or not. It shouldn't just happen automatically and not have anyone put on the record… It is about $2.5 million, not a lot of money compared to the billions talked about in [this year’s bank] bailouts, but, boy, if there is ever a circumstance where it is totally inappropriate, it is this year.”

Opponents of ending Congress’s automatic pay raises argue that Congressional salaries need to be high — and raised on a regular basis — in order to keep pace with the high cost of living in D.C. and allow people of modest means to serve in Congress. The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik makes this point:

“The truth is that reducing compensation for federal legislators would make Congress immeasurably worse. It would become even more of a club for plutocrats than it is now by making it harder for those with modest resources to run for and stay on Capitol Hill… [D]ecent pay is necessary both to attract people from all walks of life into congressional service and to limit their temptation to jump to lucrative lobbying jobs.”

Financial commentator Susan Webber, who writes under the pseudonym Yves Smith on her blog “naked capitalism,” puts it this way:

“If you pay cops terribly, you'll get cops who take bribes. If you pay members of Congress or regulators way less than first-year law school graduates in large New York or D.C. law firms, you're going to get members and regulators who take bribes…. If you cut health care subsidies for Congressional staff, you’ll get lobbyists writing the laws."

This bill has eight Republican cosponsors. Past efforts to end automatic pay increases for Congress have been unsuccessful, largely due to resistance from lawmakers themselves. The closest Congress came was in 2009, when the Senate unanimously passed a bill to end automatic pay increases. However, the bill died in the House without a floor vote.


Of NoteThe Ethics Reform Act of 1989 established the current formula whereby members of Congress receive automatic annual adjustments in their salaries, unless stopped by Congressional legislation. Because these pay increases are automatic, members of Congress can receive raises without having to go on record to vote for them.

Members of Congress have voted to freeze Congressional pay in each of the past nine years — thus, Congress hasn’t received a salary increase since 2009. This is because salary increases have been routinely blocked in annual spending laws and other legislation.

Pay increases for members of Congress are linked to those of thousands of other high-ranking federal government personnel, including cabinet agency heads and judges.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / mj0007)

AKA

No Vote, No Raise Act

Official Title

To eliminate automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress, and for other purposes.

    Nothing in the Federal budget should be allowed to grow automatically.
    Like (205)
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    No one deserves an automatic raise. If we put contributions from the 1% out in the open for everyone to see, that might help. We should do what some other countries do. Campaigns get the same amount of money each. Campaigns run for for about a month or so. Everything is exposed to the light of day. Those who have a problem with this apporach likely have something to hide, and with good reason.
    Like (53)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes absolutely! I can’t give myself a raise, why should Congress be able to do that. I think it should be voted on by the people. It might fix our broken Congress who seem to be working for themselves instead of the American people!
    Like (133)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress’s pay should be related to their performance such as passing legislation in a timely manner. Stay on budget and representing their constituents.
    Like (95)
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    Pay raise should be performance based ,
    Like (76)
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    ABSOLUTELY, who else gets that kind of deal. Especially when they have been the most inactive, inept, and uncooperative congress in history!!!
    Like (68)
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    Members of Congress should not receive an automatic pay raise, end of discussion.
    Like (58)
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    Tell me, in what other job do you get automatic raises?
    Like (49)
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    Congress should be treated like all workers. Automatic pay raises for most workers are largely extinct thanks to the Republican trickle down scam.
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    Yes. Absolutely. No question. My senators certainly do not deserve a raise. Any raises should be approved by tax payers
    Like (37)
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    Well of course! Who else on the planet gets to vote on their own pay raises. The pay is too high as is!
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    I disagree with automatic pay raises!
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    Not only should they NOT be automatic, congress' raises should be on the ballot every time. We taxpayers who pay their salaries, should know exactly what they make along with what perks they receive. They shouldn't get a separate retirement, they should have to rely on Social Security like the rest of us.
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    In the real world there is no such thing as automatic pay raises. I worked for county governments and have gone 5 and 7 years without pay raises. Teachers don’t get automatic pay raises either. No way should Congress be allowed to have automatic pay raises, especially when they are really working for Trump and their big donors instead of their constituents!
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    Set Congress Compensation equal to the average compensation of their constituents, including vacation time, paid time off, retirement savings, health benefits. When a congress member can increase the compensation and benefits of its constituents, then their compensation will also increase proportionately.
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    Federal employee raises have not occurred, tens of thousand low-wage contractor workers have not been paid their back pay from the shutdowns, and those standing in obstruction to the will of the people want a raise⁉️ They deserve a pink slip, or more commonly known a notice of dismissal from employment. Let’s take a page from the baby boomer playbook, and “Just Say No‼️”
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    If Congress fails to raise the standard of living of ALL Americans, they don’t deserve a raise!
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    I think every pay raise should be voted on. And if the government is shut down then no one in office should get paid Social Security is so far behind on cost-of-living raises for the people supporting the Congress We should get the raises before Congress does
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    Give automatic pay raises to public school teachers first!
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    Compensation increases should be based on merit and after evaluations are done. Those evaluations must be objective and measurable. Things like how many times did you show up for a vote? How many times did you abstain from voting? How many bills that you sponsored or co sponsored were brought to a vote? You worked on bipartisanship by doing what measurable activities? Etc. Percentile scores would determine eligibility and amounts of increases. Those who don’t work, don’t get increases. This should apply to both chambers.
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