In this economy, lawmakers should not raise their salaries

Unfortunately, unless Congress takes action to stop it that is precisely what will happen.

This Congress, we have once again introduced legislation, H.R. 4255, to prevent members of Congress from receiving the next scheduled pay raise, and have once again been joined by more than 100 colleagues. Last year, our efforts helped to successfully block the fiscal 2010 pay raise. We believe that blocking the pay raise again this year is equally important.

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In times like these, Congress should be focused on helping our economy and helping those who are suffering because of it, not raising our own pay. The American people are not getting a raise this year. Neither should Congress.

Last year President Barack Obama froze pay for senior White House employees. Even U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts recently announced that, in a major break from tradition and in light of the fact that “so many of our fellow citizens have been touched by hardship,” he will not seek salary increases this year for federal judges.

Congress should follow suit.

In addition to facing an economy that has left so many Americans out of work and underemployed, Congress must tackle a rising national debt and continual budget deficits.

Last year, we saved taxpayers $2.5 million by blocking the pay raise for members of Congress. While this raise is dwarfed by the $12 trillion debt, it represents the type of bipartisan fiscal responsibility we believe Congress needs to adopt. That is why our bill has been endorsed by Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union.

Enacting H.R. 4255, the Stop the Automatic Pay Raise for Members of Congress in FY2011 Act, is an important, albeit obvious, step for Congress to take in the fiscal 2011 budget.

Washington

Monkey-testing NASA deserves no sympathy

From Justin Goodman, Laboratory Investigations Department, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Members of Congress in districts where NASA operates its various facilities around the country are up in arms about the Obama administration’s proposed budget that would effectively put the agency’s plans for human spaceflight on hold (article, “Shelby: Budget a ‘death march’ for NASA,” Feb 1).

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has heard from many thousands of citizens who would be much more sympathetic to NASA’s budgetary woes if they weren’t watching the agency squander nearly $2 million of taxpayers’ money for cruel and crude radiation experiments on monkeys that have no relevance to the health of human astronauts and that violate our moral sensibilities about how animals ought to be treated.

Lawmakers concerned with the future and public image of our nation’s space program should take measures to ameliorate this unfortunate situation before NASA’s reputation — and the lives of up to 30 sensitive, intelligent primates —are irreparably damaged.

Washington