Congressional Pay Freeze and Fiscal Responsibility Actby Former Representative Michele Bachmann
Posted on 2013-01-01
BACHMANN. I thank the gentleman from California. I thank Mr.
Fitzpatrick for his bill as well.
I, too, was shocked when I saw that the President of the United States, out of nowhere, at no request from any Member of Congress, had issued a unilateral executive order, which means he decided to take the law into his own hands and, in effect, become his own Congress and decide unilaterally, at the height of the fiscal cliff debate, that he would throw a new wrench into that argument, and it would be this: When there is massive uncertainty, unfinished business, he would decide that he would unilaterally give a pay increase to the United States Congress exactly when the public is uncertain and doesn't know what is going to happen. Will their taxes go up? Will they no longer be the recipient of a spending program? And so now Congress is going to get a spending increase? This was a cynical planned move, Mr. Speaker, on the part of our President. He brought great drama to this effort, unnecessary drama. Because, you see, this House of Representatives already did this job to avert the fiscal cliff. We did this work. It was completed last August. We said that no one's taxes need to go up, and we were able to offset any spending cuts. The work was done. The problem is the Senate never took up the completed work of the House, and the President of the United States spent the last half of this year continually castigating the House of Representatives for not having this work done when we did our work.
And so out of nowhere, again, not at the request of Congress, the President decided to make a very unlovely party to this conversation-- the Congress--even less palatable by putting upon us the idea that we wanted to raise our own salary when we had nothing whatsoever to do with that. That's why over the weekend I directed my staff that we would put forth a bill to take away this unilateral increase in salary for Congress at the President's hand. We put our bill together. Mr. Fitzpatrick put his bill together. We both introduced bills yesterday.
And I'm very happy to be a part of this bill, as every Member of Congress is happy to be for this bill, because, after all, this had nothing to do with the conversations. This was a cynical effort on the part of the President--and I believe nothing more cynical than the fact that the current agreement with the fiscal cliff was agreed to, we're told, somewhere around 11:30 last night. The bill was voted on at 2:00 in the morning. Again, this is New Year's Eve. I don't know how many Senators between midnight and 2 a.m. in the morning had a chance to thoroughly read this agreement that's 157 pages long.
You see, this is not how we should run our government. This is drama, unnecessary drama. And President Obama bears the responsibility for his failure to lead and his intentional effort, it appears, to mislead the American public with this cynical bill. That's why we are here this morning, to clarify the President's action. This was not at our behest, and we are rejecting this measure today to increase Congress's salary.