'No Work, No Pay' Law Must Stay on the Books, Taxpayer Group Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A taxpayer watchdog group is fighting to preserve a "No Work, No Pay" law that requires members of Congress to forfeit their pay when they are absent from Congress - unless they or a family member are ill.

It's an obscure law but still valid - but now the Senate is trying to get rid of it, the National Taxpayers Union warned.

An NTU study released in January 2005 found that 25 lawmakers had 10 or more days of unexcused absences in the 108th Congress, amounting to more than $500,000 in illegal salary payments. Seventeen of those 25 senators (including Sens. John F. Kerry and John Edwards) and representatives were campaigning for higher office.

From January 2003 to the October 2004 recess, presidential hopeful John Kerry missed 146 days of votes without being granted leave, the NTU said, making his total salary overpayment $90,932.68.

NTU has tried to ensure enforcement of the 'No Work, No Pay' law for nearly a decade, but Congress has been reluctant to do anything about it.

A provision to repeal the law is included in a Senate appropriations bill that emerged from committee this week.

"With enough pressure from taxpayers, we can persuade the full Senate to restore the 'No Work, No Pay' law, or fight to keep the law intact when the bill goes to a conference committee," the NTU said in a press release. The House version of the appropriations bill does not mention the law.

See Earlier Story:
Politicians Flouting 'No Work, No Pay' Rule, Taxpayer Group Says (Jan. 27, 2005)

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.