House votes to forgo congressional pay hike

House members on Tuesday evening voted overwhelmingly against giving themselves a pay raise in 2011.

The 402-15 vote will keep lawmakers' salaries at $174,000 next year, abandoning a scheduled $1,600 boost. The Senate unanimously passed the bill last week.

"In the midst of the steepest economic decline in 80 years, this is no time for Congress to give itself a pay raise," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. "As someone who takes the deficit seriously, I believe Congress must do everything possible to reduce red ink. If deficit reduction doesn't start with us, where will it start?"

Sen. Russ Feingold spearheaded the movement to scrap the increase. The Wisconsin Democrat has long campaigned against automatic congressional pay raises, and has not accepted a salary increase since coming to Capitol Hill. He has sponsored legislation to force lawmakers to actively introduce pay raises.

President Obama requested a 1.4 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees and members of the military in the fiscal 2011 budget, but lawmakers have yet to take up the proposal.

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