House Needs to Vote on Reid’s Plan to Ban Automatic Pay Raises, Thune Says
March 30, 2009 - 5:47 PMHouse Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) recently said he would not call for a vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) proposal – which passed in the Senate – to ban automatic cost-of-living pay raises for members of Congress.
Republican Sen. John Thune (S.D.), however, told CNSNews.com that he supports banning the automatic pay hikes and "absolutely" thinks the House should vote on the bill.
Each year the matter of whether to vote to cancel an automatic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) pay raise for Congress is brought before the House for a vote. If the House decides not to debate the bill, the pay raises occur automatically.
On Feb. 25, the House voted 398-24 to cancel an automatic pay raise for the year 2010.
The bill introduced by Reid in the Senate on March 6, however, would repeal the automatic pay raises and require a vote for every pay raise Congress receives.
According to the U.S. House of Representatives Web site, Nancy Pelosi makes $223,500 a year as speaker. Reid, as majority leader of the Senate, makes $193,400. By contrast, the chief justice of the United States makes $217,000 per year and President Obama makes $400,000.
When asked about Reid’s proposal on March 18, Hoyer told CNSNews.com: “No, I am not for it. So I am not going to commit to bringing it to the floor. We will see what happens to it, but, you know – that answer doesn't shock you, I am sure."
Thune, however, said the House should hold a vote on Reid’s proposal.
"Sure, absolutely, I wish it would have gotten a vote in the Senate,” Thune said. “Actually, it did get a vote in the Senate – finally – but it took a tremendous amount of mneuvering to do that, and I would hope that the House would follow suit.
When asked why he supports banning automatic pay raises for members of Congress, Thune said:
"Well, I just think that at a time when you are asking the American people to make hard decisions and they’re having to tighten their belts, the least we can do in Washington is tighten ours," he said.
Below is the transcript of the interview:
CNSNews.com: “Majority Leader Hoyer has said he does not want to call a vote on Senator Reid's proposal to ban automatic pay raises for members of Congress. Do you think that bill should get a vote in the House?”
Thune: “Sure, absolutely. I wish it would have gotten a vote in the Senate. Actually, it did get a vote in the Senate finally, but it took a tremendous amount of maneuvering to do that, and I would hope that the house would follow suit.”
CNSNews.com: “Why do you support that?”
Thune: “Well, I just think that at a time when you are asking the American people to make hard decisions and their having to tighten their belts, the least we can do in Washington is tighten ours.”
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