Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mt. Vernon, is a co-sponsor of a bill that calls for U.S. senators and representatives to take a five-percent pay cut beginning in January of 2011. Loebsack says it would be a pay cut that would reduce his salary by $9,000. The current salary for members of congress is $174,000.
Loebsack says many Americans have had to cut back and this is a way for congress to do so. “It’s a personal commitment that I think we need to make here in Washington to demonstrate to the folks at home, who are frustrated obviously,” Loebsack says. He says he hear’s from people every day who are tightening their belts.
Loebsack says it would be the first time that congressional salaries have been reduced since April of 1933 during the Great Depression. He admits it is a symbolic move. “Sure, but it’s also a beginning and I think clearly what we have to do here in congress is demonstrate to the American people, and the folks at home, that we take this enterprise seriously,” Loebsack says, “and it’s clearly a very small first step, but a first step none the less.”
Congress gets automatic cost of living increases unless they vote against them and this bill would also block any automatic increase in congressional salaries for next year. Loebsack testified before the House Budget Committee, Wednesday, urging fiscal responsibility and restraint. A Republican who hopes to unseat Loebsack in the second district is critical of his stance.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks released a statement saying: “Loebsack has been a rubber-stamp for much of the runaway spending in Congress he now denounces, voting for Nancy Pelosi’s agenda over 97% of the time and putting America on a path that will triple our national debt over the next 10 years.”
Miller-Meeks says it’s clear Loebsack “is getting pressure from working families across eastern Iowa who are sick and tired of the new spending, massive debt and looming tax increases that he voted for, in lock-step with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”