GOP bill cuts member pay as punishment for budget deficit

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) on Wednesday proposed a new bill that would require congressional salaries to be cut 15 percent any time Congress fails to balance the budget.

Bentivolio said his Spending Accountability Act, H.R. 3993, is needed to give Congress an incentive to cut the annual budget deficit, which is now at $600 billion per year and expected to rise.

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"I think my colleagues need a little more motivation to do the right thing and balance the budget," Bentivolio said Thursday. "They're hitting the American taxpayer in the pocketbook by accumulating so much debt.

"It's time for Congress to make the tough decisions today, rather than mortgaging our childen's and grandchildren's future."

His bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), who said the government needs to balance its books just the way American families do every year.

"When moms and dads in Northern Michigan plan out their family budgets, they know they have to live within their means," Benishek said. "Washington should do the same. This common sense measure simply asks Congress to do its job or take a pay cut."

Under the bill, member pay would be cut by 15 percent in the next calendar year following a fiscal year that ended in a budget deficit. An aide to Bentivolio said that if the bill were passed into law, it would not apply to the current Congress due to the 27th Amendment, which says pay adjustments can only apply to the next Congress, not the current one.

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