On Sunday, The New York Post posted an article about the United States House of Representatives giving itself a pay raise.
The article reports:
Washington, DC, needs an emergency supply of snazzy sandwich boards announcing, “Will Legislate for Food.”
A hunger crisis on Capitol Hill gave congressional leaders no choice but to trample the Constitution.
Thanks to a backroom deal, House members can now claim automatic reimbursement of $258 a night for lodging expenses and $79 a day for meals in DC — even if they don’t spend a dime.
But though House members can pocket up to $34,000 a year in additional tax dollars, it’s not a pay raise because politicians are entitled to use false labels for everything they do.
The timing of this move is important:
After Republicans captured the House majority in November, the Democrat-controlled House Administration Committee rushed through a provision in December to boost members’ pay.
The Constitution’s 27th Amendment, ratified in 1992, though, prohibits any law “varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives” from taking effect “until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”
The new windfall was labeled “reimbursements” and took effect thanks to a tweak in the Members’ Congressional Handbook.
There was no debate or vote on the House floor; neither the Senate nor the president had a say in the matter.
Former Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) denounced the “clandestine secrecy” of the process.
In a press conference Friday, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), House Democratic leader, denied any pay raise occurred: It was just “reimbursement.”
Jeffries used the word “bipartisan” five times in one minute to sanctify the new measure.
The article also notes:
The new benefit system “does not require the submission of receipts to reduce burdens and address the potential security risks,” ruled the House’s chief administrative officer.
Congress last year bankrolled hiring 87,000 new IRS agents and employees to audit Americans’ 1040 forms and shake more money out of their bank accounts.
The new benefits are tax-free, so House members can pocket the pre-tax equivalent of $50,000 in extra income based solely on unverified claims.
The House report bewailed that “the personal benefits of winning a seat in Congress have . . . decreased.”
But that was because Congress’ reckless deficit spending helped wreck the value of the dollar, which has fallen 40% since the last pay raise Congress gave itself in 2009.
The report claimed permitting reimbursement would “modernize” the pay system.
If the Republicans in the House are really serious about cutting spending, this would be a wonderful place to start!