"The fact is, Congress has no credibility on this issue. The people have heard a lot of tough rhetoric about fiscal discipline, but for more than ten years, what they’ve actually seen from both parties are growing deficits and skyrocketing debt," she said. "Members can’t ask anyone else to cut back before we are willing to make some sacrifices of our own. It’s time for us to stop talking and start leading."
Kirkpatrick has already voluntarily cut her own salary, sending about $870 for seven months back to Treasury Department's Bureau of Public of Debt, an aide told The Hill.
The bill has 29 co-sponsors but hasn't gained much traction with House Democratic leadership since the legislation — the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act — was introduced in March.
Lawmakers' last pay raise — about $5,000 — was in January 2009. Since then, Congress has voted against the automatic cost-of-living pay raise for 2010 and 2011.
"This country is facing a fiscal crisis, and Congress cannot keep leaving the tough decisions for next week or next month or next year," she said. "We need to stand up and say no more bailouts, no more wasteful spending, no more ducking the hard calls. The days of consequence-free spending in Washington are over — Congress needs to show the people they understand that."