GOP lawmakers seek to reduce their own compensation

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va. Lawrence Jackson/AP

As the House prepares to take up a bill next week extending the federal pay freeze through the rest of 2013, some GOP lawmakers are looking to reduce their own compensation to curtail spending.

Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., reintroduced legislation on Tuesday that would tie lawmakers’ salaries to the growth in government spending, reducing their pay in proportion to the percent increase in spending between the previous two fiscal years. For example, if government spending increases by 7 percent from one fiscal year to the next, then members’ salaries would decrease by 7 percent the following calendar year.

If Congress passes the measure, then lawmakers’ pay would be reduced in proportion to government spending beginning in January 2015.

Forbes said the legislation is designed to “insert personal accountability” of lawmakers into the budget process. “I believe in the simple truth that we should not spend what we do not have, and we must make it a priority to put our nation back on a path of fiscal prosperity,” Forbes said in a statement. “As public servants, we have a lot of work to do to bring down our national debt and reduce deficit spending.”

Forbes also introduced this bill, known as the Congressional Accountability Pay Act, in the 112th and 111th congresses.

In addition, Rep. Richard Nugent, R-Fla., reintroduced his bill that allows lawmakers, regardless of when they were elected to Congress, to opt out of receiving a pension. It also allows lawmakers to reject Thrift Savings Plan contributions. Dubbed the Congress is Not a Career Act, the legislation redefines member of Congress under the Federal Employees Retirement System so that lawmakers elected after the enactment of the 2004 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act can choose not to receive FERS benefits.

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