Reforming Congressional Perks

What would congressional members do with a bill that actually has citizen merit — obviously shelve it! Those who have been in Congress for a while absolutely do NOT want to lose their standing. We see it every year. Democrats especially have been quick to vote themselves raises every year even if they have not passed many worthy bills or spent their time wisely.

The White House wants to remind us that if we want real reform efforts in congress, being aware of those shelved bills languishing in the back closet need to be acknowledged.

Here is one that may have made it to committee but seems to have been filed in File 13. Congress members will not move forward on them if they are not forced to do so. The biggest, best lobby group in this country is our own voices.

Take a moment to consider and if you agree we as citizens need to continue to push these through then pass the information on to those who would also raise their lobbying voices.

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H.R.1935 – Congressional Pension Reform Act

This bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher on April 5, 2017.

Its purpose:

1. Termination of retirement coverage of members of congress under federal employee’s retirement system, except for the right to continue participating in the Thrift Savings Plan. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / congresswoman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.

3. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/18. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.

The bill was submitted to the Committee on House Administration and to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform on April 5 but has since been ignored.

There are also two companion acts that are similar to this one.

H.R. 145 – Citizen Legislature Anti-Corruption Reform Act or Clean Act. Introduced January 23, 2017 by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

H.R.322
– End Pensions in Congress Act or EPIC Act. Introduced January 5, 2017. Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on January 23, 2017, to the Committee on House Administration and to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform.

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There are others sitting like lame little ducks that refer to curbing congressional perks, such as:

H.R.307 — Lead by Example Act of 2017. To ensure that Members of Congress and Congressional staff receive health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs instead of under the Federal Health Benefits Program or health care exchanges

S.1569 — A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to eliminate the non-application of certain State waiver provisions to Members of Congress and congressional staff.

H.R.1935 — This bill modifies the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to exclude Members of Congress, except the Vice President, from FERS retirement coverage

H.R.1786 — Congressional Halt in Pay Increases and Cut Congressional Pay Act

H.R.2665 — (1) congressional salaries must be reduced by the percentage by which outlays exceeded revenues for that fiscal year, except that the reduction may not exceed 15%; and (2) a cost-of-living adjustment is prohibited

H.R.384 — prohibits a former Member of Congress or former senior congressional employee who is a registered lobbyist, and entitled to compensation as such, from being eligible for any benefits

H.R.3505 — To provide that a former Member of Congress or former senior Congressional employee who receives compensation as a lobbyist representing a foreign principal shall not be eligible for retirement benefits or certain other Federal benefits

H.R.4314 — No Pensions for Corrupt Politicians Act

(There are more but you get the idea…Republicans were wanting to reduce congressional perks and then there were the Democrats wanting to protect congressional perks which I didn’t bother to add.)

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Particularly telling is that there is NO  Senate bill companion.

Congress is forever butting into the business of local and state authority. They tell us how we need to plan for the future financially and otherwise. They believe themselves above and exempt from the same actions they force-feed us.  It is time their feet were held to the fire and they had to live by every law they produce.

We can dream I guess but it is obvious that all those long-term retirement congressional members  are definitely going to find ways to push these into the File 13. As I mentioned, the best lobby group in this country is the voters. It is about time we start burning up those communication lines and see if we can get any one of these three pushed through and a Senate version done.

I don’t particularly hold out any hope…these people aren’t going to give up their government handouts easily. It may be that the only way to proceed on this issue is through the Convention of States.

Still it can’t hurt to wave the red flag in front of our representatives in the House and Senate.

–Uriel–

 

 

About Uriel

Retired educator and constitutionalist
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10 Responses to Reforming Congressional Perks

  1. Wise Owl says:

    Yeah, “Vote yourself a cut in pay/perks” is simply NOT going to happen…. unless, of course, there is overwhelming support and demand from the lemmings. Even if HALF the constituency raises hell about it, the other half will be sucking their thumbs and guess which half Congress will focus on. Sad.

  2. vonmesser says:

    Shared

  3. Those that are/were too lazy to work entered politics; at least most of them – not all.
    Until there is a total uprising in the general population, there will never be any logical changes to the elite’s “thrones”.

    “Term limits” should also be imposed.

    Trump could, however, decree an EO nullifying the Heath Care waiver. THAT would be a start. Might even get the ball rolling once people see and hear the outcries from congress and finally threaten them with an ouster.

    Be wary of any “Convention of States”. THAT is a double-edged sword that could work against us just as easily. It would be much safer to introduce a Constitutional Amendment, via a national referendum to these effects, instead.

    • Uriel says:

      Hadenough — And those that did so knew there were ways to make a lot of money or they would not have overstayed.

      Yes State Convention could be a two-edged sword but first it is extremely difficult to get 30+ states to come onboard and second a convention has to have explicitly stated purpose for being enjoined. It can’t address anything else. At least that is what I understand.

      You are correct that a bill through Congress IS best but does anyone believe those with the most to lose would ever vote for it?

  4. Whitetop says:

    Only way to rid the government of career politicians is take away the incentives and make sure they can never vote perks for themselves again.

  5. Uriel says:

    Exactly Whitetop….like those sponging off the system, when cut loose they suddenly find they can work.

  6. Ragnar says:

    H.R.307 — Lead by Example Act of 2017. To ensure that Members of Congress and Congressional staff receive health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs instead of under the Federal Health Benefits Program or health care exchanges

    I bet that would clean up the VA in a hurry….

    • Uriel says:

      Don’t you know it Ragnar. Lol they would demand the latest and best, write the bill, vote on it in congress and have it to the Pres for signing by end of day.