This story is based on an article at Politico on Tuesday. The article reports that:
“The must-pass spending bill pending in the Senate includes a little-noticed provision that would pay the family of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd for the salary he would have commanded in the next fiscal year.”
According to the Senate handbook:
“…upon the death of a senator who had been serving in office, “in the next appropriations bill, an item will be inserted for a gratuity to be paid to the widow(er) or other next- of-kin, in the amount of one-year’s compensation.””
According to the bill, the late senator’s $193,400 salary to be split equally between Byrd’s seven children and grandchildren. I object. Senator Byrd was not a young man; he did not leave behind a young widow with young children who would struggle financially–he left adult children and grandchildren. American military killed in action don’t get this sort of benefits.
The article further explains:
“The practice has been long followed by both parties and in both chambers, including in 2007 when the widows of the late Wyoming GOP Sen. Craig Thomas and the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) each received $165,200 for the salary that the two men would have received.”
This is ridiculous. The political club that is Congress needs to be broken up and its rules changed. This is the year to do that.