Washington (CNN) - The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to scrap its $1600 cost-of-living pay raise for 2011. Lawmakers automatically receive the pay hike unless they vote each year to stop it.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who has adamantly protested the the annual pay raise since his election in 1992. Legislators did not take a pay raise in 2010 either - a suspension of the pay raise was included in the omnibus appropriations bill.
"Not many Americans have the power to give themselves a raise whenever they want, no matter how they are performing," Feingold said in a press release. "Yet Congress has set up a system whereby every year members automatically get a pay increase without having to lift a finger. I refuse to be a part of that system, and I will continue to work to permanently end it."
"But in the meantime, Congress should at least give up its raise for next year. With so many Americans looking for jobs, and trying to figure out how to pay their bills, now is no time to give ourselves a taxpayer-funded pay raise."
Read the one-page bill here [pdf]
In keeping with a campaign promise from his first run for senator in 1992, Feingold has never taken an annual pay raise. According to his office, "Feingold returns pay above the level he received after he was last elected and returns it to the U.S. Treasury."
The legislation now must pass the House of Represenatives.
Some of the best reasons for real reform.
Staff Size and Pay needs to be limited.
Fully funded pensions.
They can afford no pat raise. Did you ever wonder how so may members of Crogress become wealthy while in office? Hmmm?
They should have to get the same healthcare as the rest of us...
Pay Raise for Main Street USA!
I'd like to see who voted for and against this bill.
WOW. I like the way he thinks!!
My combined pay increases over the last 5 years have not amounted to $1600 while my cost of living has skyrocketed. Why the h@ll should I automatically give that, and more, to all those crooked politicians who only do what's best for themselves? To give them a better lifestyle? REFORM THIS NOW and start working for my tax dollars!!!!!!!!!!
How about the House and Senate change the wording not to allow a pay raise unless the American People vote on it or IF you get re-elected then you get a cost of living allowance.
Let's see how many 'Budget Balancing" Regpugs sign on to this bill.
I can guess, ZERO...
Thank you Universe for showing a little piece of blue sky. There really is a politician who gets it.
I believe this is fair. Almost no one is getting raises, certainly those of us on Social Security are not. Our investment income is down also.
Congress should not get a raise this year and in fact, we should be asking them to give up a lot of fringe benefits. They are paid more in retirement than most of us earned working full time. How very absurd.
Why can't they save and invest like the rest of us have to do.
How about going a little further and taking a 30% pay cut as well? And cutting the salary for life with health care retirement after only two years of service?
Finally a little common sense!!! Thank you Senate, Thank you Senator Feingold! Let's get on board House of Reps! Let's see where you stand! Your turn to sacrifice, just like we (your bosses) have to. So easy to operate when it is our money, isn't it? Let's see will you respond now that it is about yours???
Congratulations to Sen. Feingold for having the guts to stand up for his principles. I wonder how many other senators would follow suit on this one. This man has a real understanding of what the average American working class is going though – salary increases are a thing of the past for most of us, it's nice to know there is one senator on our side.
Amazing – I never thought I'd see the day!!
They should, since they did not want to extend uneployment benifits to the real working Americans.
I am suprised the Senate Republicans didn't vote against it.