News Column

President Sees Cliff and Raises Pay

Jan. 1, 2013

Mary Clarkin

Congress

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp's objections to government spending include the 2013 pay hike slated for members of Congress.

As debate over the deficit, tax increases, and spending cuts embroiled elected leaders in Washington, President Obama issued an executive order Thursday raising salaries for members of Congress.

Starting in March 2013, annual salary for a U.S. senator or representative -- paid alike -- will be $174,900. Annual pay has been $174,000 since 2009.

The hike means congressional pay has climbed 13 percent in the last decade and is nearly 24 percent greater than the $141,300 salary paid in 2000.

"It is completely irresponsible for the President to propose another spending increase -- this time pay raises for the Vice President and members of Congress. I voted against the congressional pay raise last year, and I will vote to stop it again," said Huelskamp, a Republican with homes in Fowler and Hutchinson, in a statement Monday.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, also considered it an inappropriate time to give raises to elected leaders on Capitol Hill.

Jenkins supports efforts to block this increase and is a co-sponsor of additional legislation to reduce member pay by 10 percent, Jenkins' staff said via email Monday.

A Pennsylvania Republican, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, introduced legislation Monday to block the raises, Jenkins' staff said, and Jenkins is expected to be a co-sponsor.

Last year, Jenkins co-sponsored the Savings Start With Us Act of 2011 that calls for a 10 percent pay cut for those serving in Congress.

"I came to Washington to cut spending, not to raise federal salaries for myself or anyone else," U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, said in an email.

"I think it's a shame that rather than address our current financial crisis, President Obama has called for another $11 billion in spending over 10 years," Pompeo said.

The executive order also raised Vice President Joe Biden's annual salary to $231,900, hiked leadership pay in Congress, and spelled out higher schedules for the military, with other federal workers also benefitting from the order.

The federal pay increases will cost an estimated $11 billion over 10 years.

Efforts to reach Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Dodge City, and Jerry Moran, R-Manhattan, were unsuccessful Monday. Also, The News was unable to obtain a comment from U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kan.)


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