Freshman Democrat blasts leadership for not holding vote on salary cut

By Jordy Yager -The Hill

A politically vulnerable Democratic lawmaker blasted her party’s House leadership as she demanded a vote to cut the salaries of lawmakers by $8,700 next year.

In a letter sent Thursday afternoon, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) pressured Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to hold a vote on her bill to cut congressional pay by five percent and save taxpayers $4.7 million next year before Congress breaks for its fall recess.

“For months, and despite multiple requests to move it forward, the bill has not seen any progress in the House,” said Kirkpatrick in the letter. “It seems that it is being swept under the rug.”

Kirkpatrick’s letter comes in the wake of a Rasmussen poll released two weeks ago which found that 75 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed wanted lawmakers to reduce their salaries until the federal budget is balanced.

President Obama signed a bill in May halting Congress’ automatic cost of living increase for 2011 after it easily passed both the House and Senate last month. The base pay for a House member is $174,000, though leaders earn a higher salary.

The freshman Kirkpatrick is in the midst of a tough campaign against Republican nominee Paul Gosar for her state’s 1st District seat. She is top Republican target this cycle.

Kirkpatrick has made several pushes for her bill to be approved out of committee, saying that this would be the first time Congress decreased its pay in 77 years – the last time being in the midst of the Great Depression on April 1, 1933. Her measure has garnered 31 cosponsors since it was introduced in March and has been endorsed by the National Taxpayers Union and The Senior Citizens League.

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