Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick Wants a Pay Cut -- And She Wants Everyone Else in Congress to Get One, Too

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick
Big ups to Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who reaffirmed her commitment to a Congressional pay cut today by writing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter demanding a floor vote on a resolution she introduced in March.

The United States government is $13.5 trillion in the hole, unemployment looms around 10 percent, and even President Obama says everyone needs to make sacrifices.

With Congress' approval rating at a dismal 21 percent, Kirkpatrick says the sacrifices should start in-house.

"Representatives have to make sacrifices of their own before they ask anyone else to do without. For more than a decade, both parties have buried this country deeper and deeper in debt. Naturally, the American people now do not trust Congress to set the right priorities," Kirkpatrick wrote in the letter to Pelosi. "We need to prove that we are actually serious about restoring fiscal discipline -- serious enough to start the cutbacks with our own pocketbooks." 

The bill introduced by Kirkpatrick in March is HR 4720, the "Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act," and it calls for a 5 percent pay cut to congressional salaries.

The bill has been stalled in committee, and Kirkpatrick wants a floor vote before Congress adjourns in October.

Kirkpatrick is up for re-election, so the timing of her letter is somewhat politically motivated -- we find it hard to fathom that too many voters wouldn't be in favor of a Congressional pay cut -- but it's the thought that counts. Not to mention, if the bill does get a floor vote before the October recess, we'll get to see which legislators approve the resolution -- and which don't -- before election day.

Good luck explaining to constituents a "no" vote on this one.

Your rank-and-file member of Congress makes $174,000 a year, while the speaker of the House makes $223,500 annually.

Other high-level members, like the majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate, make $193,400.

If you're amongst the majority of American citizens, that's far more than you're making doing whatever it is you do.

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Let's say this bill passed and is enacted and reduces spending by $3 million dollars. What about the rest of the spending? Talk about a token spending reduction.


It's nice that they may take a pay decrease but I want them to STOP spending everyone else's money--that we don't have.I understand that the representative is already returning $8700 of her salary. Congress has had a pay increase for 77 years in spite of poor job performance. As I recall, if my peformance did not excell, I didn't receive a salary increase.


Would you please define what you mean by "poor performance?" Doesn't the definition depend on your political point of view? Right now, I'd say most of the GOP is pretty pleased by its Senate and House performance -- block everything the Dems try to do, even if it means that things go to hell in a handbasket. From the Dems' point of view, they are trying like mad to deal with gigantic deficits created by Bush's tax cuts and the Iraq war (conducted off budget). This was compounded by his housing bubble that exploded the availability of credit. Yet the Dem effort to use a Keynesian solution has been ridiculed and blocked by those who would benefit. So who is doing the good job? Who is doing the bad job? And how does Congressional pay get measured?Frankly, Buffone, I think you are applying an excessively simplistic negative form of judgment.Wouldn't it be better to ask, Which of our elected representatives is committed to governing well? The Republicans, who block pragmatic legislation and who won't fund the programs the Congress has already determined is necessary? The Tea Party, which wants to cut government to such a small scale it can't accomplish anything? Or the Dems who want to make programs work, even though they often stumble around trying to find the right way to do it? Your call. Who is doing the best job for us?

Jos Harrison
Jos Harrison

Oh i so want to see what'll happen... I guess floor vote, then they'll find some way to either neuter it, or some new compensation method to make up for what they 'lost'

Gee, can you tell that i think my representatives are over paid? Maybe ifn they earned that paycheck i'd be complaining, but...


The Congresswoman doesn't need a law to authorize a pay cut. She can simply decline her pay or turn it back to the federal treasury.

In any event, her salary, while well above the salary of most of us, is not really very high in the overview. She makes about the same as a federal district judge and a number of federal executives. All of these earn salaries far less than others of their education, background and experience. The federal judge salaries are not competitive with the market when compared with senior counsel at most law firms. As a result, many judges eventually resign. Same with senior federal managers.

So in a way, the Congresswoman, while having the admirable goal of leveling herself to her constituents, is really offering only a symbolic reduction. In fact, the salaries of congressmen/women have little impact on the federal budget whatever they choose to pay themselves.

If she is serious about reducing the public debt, she should be demanding that the nation's highest earners pay a greater share than they do now. She should be demanding enforcement of the corporate tax laws and getting rid of loopholes. Maybe even, gasp!, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire.

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