Republican lawmakers seek to block $900-a-year congressional salary hike

GOP lawmakers are rushing to introduce legislation blocking a congressional pay increase authorized in a recent executive order signed by President Obama, as bipartisan backlash to the planned raise grows.

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Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) both came out with legislation opposing the executive order. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) said in a release that he planned to introduce his own measure on Monday.

"I am introducing legislation to block Pres. Obama's exec order that gives Congress a pay raise. We need to cut spending not increase it," Bachmann tweeted on Monday afternoon.

The draft bill, obtained by The Hill, states that "notwithstanding any other provision of law, no adjustment shall be made under section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 31), relating to compensation of Members of Congress, during fiscal year 2013."

A spokesman for Bachmann said she plans to introduce the bill later Monday, though it's unclear when, as both chambers of Congress have been largely consumed with negotiations working towards avoiding the impending tax increases and budget cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

Fitzpatrick said in a letter to President Obama that he has introduced legislation to block the raise, because "the misalignment of many Federal salaries compared to the private sector is yet another example of government spending focused on the wrong priorities."

Fitzpatrick pledged in a release that "should the legislation not pass by March 27th [when the raise will take effect], I will not accept the funds decreed by President Obama's Executive order."

His draft bill differs slightly from Bachmann's in that it bars a congressional pay raise in both 2013 and 2014.

Rep. Ken Marchant (R-Texas) said via Twitter that he is cosponsoring Fitzpatrick's legislation.

And Renacci called the executive order "ridiculous" and "nothing short of irrational."

"Washington’s dysfunction doesn’t deserve a raise, it needs a hard dose of reality and I am happy to help supply it," he said in a statement concerning the legislation he said he plans to introduce.

The three are not alone in their opposition to the executive order, signed by President Obama on Friday, that ends the pay freeze on federal salaries. Lawmakers are now slated to make $174,900 in 2013, a raise of $900 from 2012.

GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.) also pledged on Twitter to block a potential pay raise.

"DISAGREE with President's executive order granting pay raise to Congress. I've voted against automatic increases & will not accept this one," he tweeted. 

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) pledged to return a pay raise if he receives one, and said President Obama's decision to sign the executive order raises doubts about his ability to handle the economy.

"With President Obama’s decision to give Congress a pay raise, every American should question his judgment in managing our nation’s finances," he tweeted.

The House Republicans could find a Senate partner for such legislation in Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who said on Twitter that she planned to introduce legislation to block the raise as well. Ayotte said she will be introducing the legislation at the beginning of the new Congress.

"POTUS approved out of touch pay raise for Cong. I’ll intro bill to stop it. W/16T debt and Americans facing tax hike, Cong $ raise is wrong," she tweeted.

Ayotte was backed up by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who both attacked the executive order on Monday afternoon. Murkowski said on Twitter that she opposes the pay raise and "will work to prevent this raise from going into effect in April."

And Portman, in a statement, called for Obama to withdraw the executive order that granted it.

"At a time when our country is facing record debt and trillion dollar deficits, the last thing Washington should do is reward itself with a pay increase," he said. "Until a long-term deficit reduction agreement is reached, we should not consider increasing the pay for Congress."

The backlash is coming from both sides of the aisle, though Democrats at this point have not come out in opposition in nearly the same numbers as the GOP. 

Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) was one of the first lawmakers to express chagrin with the executive order, issuing a letter to House leadership on Sunday expressing his opposition to the raise which he asked his colleagues to sign.

"We believe that it is inappropriate for Members of Congress to receive a pay increase of any size while American families and taxpayers continue to face tough economic times," the letter reads.

Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) indicated on Twitter he was one of the lawmakers to sign Barrow's letter, or a similar one, because "Members of Congress don't deserve a pay raise."

And Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) also voiced his distaste for a raise on Twitter.

"Congressional Pay Raise? Worst idea ever. Cut food stamps while boosting Senate salaries? No way!" he tweeted, with a link to a Huffington Post article on the executive order.