For Immediate Release:
For More Information Contact:
Tuesday, September 23, 1997 Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787
We gather today to stop some greedy members of Congress from lining
their pockets with yet another congressional pay raise. Last Wednesday,
the House of Representatives passed the Treasury-Postal appropriations
bill which included a $3,072.80 pay raise for Members of Congress.
The House approved the pay raise in a particularly disgraceful way:
there was no vote to strip the pay grab from the appropriations bill. House
leadership should immediately schedule a vote for Rep. Linda Smith's amendment
to remove the congressional pay raise from the Treasury-Postal appropriations
Members of Congress already earn a princely annual salary of $133,600,
plus generous pensions, perks, and benefits. Top leadership earns more.
For example, Speaker Newt Gingrich earns $171,500 per year.
Congress has been in the midst of passing numerous cutbacks in regulatory
safety, access to justice, and social service programs. Boosting congressional
salaries while making these cutbacks is a hypocritical and avaricious exercise.
Another problem with these pay raises is that they lift members of Congress
into the upper reaches of the economic stratosphere, while most Americans
toil in the economic reality here on earth. And so Members of Congress
easily forget about the routine economic problems of most Americans, and
pass legislation that benefits corporate and wealthy elites. Taxpayer-funded
corporate welfare continues to receive ever more congressional largesse.
Ironically, the idea for this year's congressional pay grab was apparently
first circulated at the bipartisan retreat at Hershey, Pennsylvania intended
to promote "civility" in the Congress. But there's nothing civil about
Members of Congress who wish to fatten their wallets with taxpayer dollars.
We are here to alert the American people to efforts by Speaker Gingrich,
Minority Leader Gephardt, and others to wheedle a pay raise for Members
of Congress. We strongly encourage citizens to call their Members of Congress
and tell them to oppose the proposed congressional pay raise. The congressional
switchboard phone is (202) 224-3121.
Tell your Members of Congress to cut -- not raise -- their salaries, so that they might restore their moral authority to govern.