SAFFORD, AZ – Representative Ann Kirkpatrick today renewed her call for Congress to pass her bill to cut congressional pay, pointing to a new poll showing overwhelming public support for the effort. The independent Rasmussen polling group has released a report that 75% of folks nationwide want Members to reduce their salaries until the budget is balanced, confirming her position that this move is critical to restoring fiscal discipline in Washington. It would be the first congressional pay cut in 77 years.
[Check out the poll here: http://bit.ly/dsNQZ7]
The Congresswoman in early March introduced the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act, which cuts salaries for Senators and Representatives by five percent, as part of her fight to get government spending under control. Along with doing what’s right for taxpayers who are taking pay cuts of their own, she sees it as a necessary step to put us back on the road to fiscal common sense again.
“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,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “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.”
“This poll is a clear sign that folks want Congress to take action – now. That starts with having every Member vote on this issue on the House floor as soon as possible.”
Rep. Kirkpatrick is not waiting for the House leadership to heed her calls and put her bill up for a vote – she is already returning five percent of her own salary to pay down the federal debt. She stopped by the Safford Post Office this morning to send an $870 personal check to the Bureau of Public Debt, the seventh month in a row she has done so.
“This country is facing a fiscal crisis, and Congress cannot keep leaving the tough decisions for next week or next month or next year,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “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.”
The poll is just the latest evidence of how much support is behind the Congresswoman’s effort. She has received hundreds of phone calls, letters, e-mails and faxes from folks across the country urging her to keep fighting for the Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act. The legislation has won praise from the editorial boards of the Washington Examiner and numerous other newspapers nationwide and has been endorsed by the National Taxpayers Union and The Senior Citizens League. Despite the lack of support from leadership for this bill, the Congresswoman has also brought 29 co-sponsors on board – more than for any previous pay cut measure.
Rep. Kirkpatrick’s other efforts on Member pay include helping to lead the successful drives to block the automatic congressional pay hike for 2010 and 2011 and co-sponsoring a bill to permanently eliminate the automatic raise.
The Congresswoman has crossed party lines and pushed for deep spending cuts, voting to slash $72 billion from FY 2010 appropriations bills and introducing an amendment to cut five percent from this year’s Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.
She has further stood up against the President and House leadership to oppose every single bailout considered by Congress in her first term. She was one of the earliest voices pushing for repaid bank bailout money to be used to pay down the debt and is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to put her plan into practice.
Rep. Kirkpatrick also supported measures to re-establish the statutory “pay-as-you-go” requirement for Congress, opposed a $1.9 trillion increase in the debt ceiling, and is co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.