Hoyer Says He Is Not a 'Big Supporter' of Freezing Congressional Pay Until Budget Is Balanced

By Matt Cover | February 2, 2010 | 4:18 PM EST

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., at an Oct. 29, 2009 news conference on Capitol. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) rejected the idea of continuing a congressional pay freeze until Congress can balance the budget, saying that it would take “a long time” until the budget might be balanced – too long, he said, for Congress to go without a pay raise.
Speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing, Hoyer explained that Congress had already frozen its pay by rejecting a cost of living increase. However, extending that freeze was too much for Hoyer to support.
CNSNews.com: Are you willing to continue the freeze on congressional pay beyond this year and until the budget gets balanced?
Hoyer: “I’m sure that Congress will be willing to consider it. First of all, as you know, in order for there to be a pay raise, you need to have a vote. Cost of living adjustments are perceived differently by the courts and by the law. So you’re really talking about cost of living adjustments. We froze the cost of living adjustments this year, and I’m sure we’ll consider that again.
CNSNews.com: But do you support it?
Hoyer: I’ve not been a big supporter of it, if you’re talking about in terms of freezing until we balance the budget – that’s a long time. I think that that’s further ahead than I want to plan.
While drafting the budget last year, Congress froze its annual cost of living increase for 2010 but will – by law – receive it in 2011 and every year after, unless Congress votes to stop the increase each year or to stop the automatic increases permanently.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal deficit resulting from President Obama’s 2011 budget will be approximately $1.3 trillion in 2011 and result in a total of $6 trillion in deficits over 10 years.