No Raise for You


Russ Feingold and Jim Matheson beware, if you vote to restrict Member's pay again you'll feel it in your own wallet. An overlooked provision in the Senate ethics reform bill would refuse COLA pay raises to any Member who votes for an amendment (or against tabling an amendment) that would stop the COLA pay raise. Pay raises always used to be a difficult vote for Members of Congress as public opinion is consistently against higher wages for our elected officials (although some have opined that Congress would be less corrupt if they all made more money). So, our elected officials put in a mandatory cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) that automatically raises Member's salaries every year.

And every year someone like Sen. Feingold or Rep. Matheson introduces an amendment to the legislative appropriations bill that would stop COLA from taking effect, thus freezing Member salaries at the previous year's level. Members of Congress haven't refused a pay raise since 1999. But now a lot of Members may be looking at freezing their own salary while their colleagues get a raise if they choose to vote for the amendments that seek to stop the COLA. Last year 152 Members of Congress would not have received the pay increase under this new law.

Any amount not paid to a Member voting for an amendment that would stop the pay increase would be deposited into the Treasury and spent soley on medical services in the Veteran's Administration.

The House still must approve this bit of the ethics bill.