The Senate, in a bid to make the American people believe lawmakers were holding themselves accountable for the Nation’s financial troubles, passed a measure last month urging members to forego 20 percent of their legislative pay during sequestration. But a poll of lawmakers conducted by The Hill suggests that a majority won’t follow through with the self-imposed pay cuts.
An amendment to Senate budget proposals by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was passed by voice vote during the legislative body’s recent budget vote marathon. The measure urged lawmakers to donate 20 percent of their legislative pay to charity or return it to the Treasury so that lawmakers would feel some of the pain that other Americans affected by sequester cuts would endure.
The Hill’s recent effort, however, reveals that only a handful of Senators have taken steps to give up a portion of their pay: Graham, Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
The newspaper notes:
Senators make $174,000 annually. To fully comply with the Graham measure for a complete calendar year, members would return $34,000 to charity or the Treasury. To most people, that’s a lot of money; but for some members, that is chump change. About half of the lawmakers in Congress are millionaires.
One of the more well-to-do among the Senators, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), expressed her opposition to any plan that would affect Senate pay negatively by claiming that it would hurt “the dignity of the job.”
A White House official announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama will voluntarily return $16,666.67, or 5 percent of his $400,000 salary, to the U.S. Treasury to do his part in offsetting sequestration.