Prior to engaging in their spending orgy (see above), the Democratic House leadership did one thing right: They allowed a vote on a congressional pay freeze.
House members, who make $174,000 a year and just received a 2.7 percent cost-of-living increase for 2009, overwhelmingly embraced the proposal, voting 398-24 to forgo their automatic pay hikes in 2010.
“I appreciate the fact that we are going to eliminate the pay raise,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. “We should not be getting a raise in a time like this.”
Indeed. But regardless of whether we’re in tough economic times or not, it’s an insult to all Americans to argue that members of Congress need a “cost of living” raise every year in order to be able to afford milk or orange juice at the corner market.
And it’s even more of an insult that Congress has set up a system under which annual pay hikes kick in automatically, shielding our senators and representatives from ever having to go on the record in support of raising their own pay — in blatant violation of the 27th Amendment.
Wednesday’s move was just and proper. But if members of Congress really want to make a statement, they will repeal the 1989 law greasing the automatic COLAs and hold an open debate and vote every time they think they deserve more money.