Freshman lawmaker to propose bill applying sequester to congressional pay in 2015

“It’s completely hypocritical for members of Congress to exempt themselves from across-the-board spending cuts, while the American people are bearing the burden of those cuts,” Bera said Wednesday. “Real leadership begins with accountability.”

Under the 27th Amendment, Congress cannot make any law that immediately affects its own pay. Instead, changes to member pay can only take effect in the next Congress.

{mosads}The Amendment was widely seen as an attempt to dissuade Congress from giving themselves a quick pay hike. But more recently, in the context of efforts to cut federal spending, the amendment has been cited as an obstacle to immediately cutting member pay.

During debate over the No Budget, No Pay Act, Congress agreed that the bill could only force member pay to be temporarily withheld if members did not approve a budget, and that their pay could not permanently be reduced.

In justifying his proposal, DeSantis quoted Madison on the importance of making sure Congress does not pass laws that do not affect themselves.

“If it is to be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society, I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America,” he quoted Madison.

“So in the spirit of James Madison, I’ll be filing legislation to make the sequester apply to the pay of members of Congress at the first moment that it’s constitutionally permissible,” he said.

An aide to DeSantis said the bill would be introduced on Thursday.

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