By Judy Kurtz
“I think it has to do with just doing our own part. It’s certainly small in amount. And yet it’s just a picture of getting our own house in order first,” Webster, 63, told ITK in a phone interview.
“There’s nobody in my district much that’s seen an increase at all in their salary in the last several years. And so I think I should follow suit.”
When asked how he would have otherwise spent the dough, Webster chuckles. “I don’t know. What would you do with it? Forty-seven hundred extra dollars. I didn’t really think about it.”
ITK pressed the father of six whether a family vacation might have been in order. A laughing Webster replied, “No, I don’t even want to think about it … And I certainly don’t want my wife and kids to start to think about what they could’ve done with the money.”
Webster isn’t the only member of Congress to return some of his cash. A 2011 profile of Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) in The Hill revealed that he donated 5 percent of his paycheck — about $700 — back to the U.S. Treasury to pay down the deficit.
Last year, Warren Buffett announced that he would match voluntary tax donations from Republican members of Congress. Webster says he took up the billionaire investor on his offer. “I sent him a letter, communicated with him, and he basically said, ‘You got me,’ and he matched it.”
This time around, he’ll be hitting up Buffett again. “I don’t know how long that pledge is. I’m going to try him this year and see if he’ll do it again. I don’t know whether he’ll do it or not.”
Webster’s encouraging his colleagues to jump on the bandwagon, saying, “It’s a small amount and yet it’s a picture of what could happen. I guess, theoretically, if every member of Congress did it, it would … probably over a 10-year period [raise] $25 million or $30 million.”