NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP OPPOSES TAX-FREE BONUS FOR CONGRESS | Citizens Against Government Waste

NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP OPPOSES TAX-FREE BONUS FOR CONGRESS

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
March 17, 1999(202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), America’s largest taxpayer advocacy group, announced today its opposition to tax-free per diems for members of Congress.  According to press accounts, a plan under consideration on Capitol Hill would permit House members to use tax-free funds from their office operating allowances to augment their $136,700 annual salary.

“This is just a cowardly, backroom attempt to give members an extra eighteen grand a year without putting it to a politically unpopular floor vote,” remarked CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “If members of Congress really think they deserve a pay raise, I suggest they take their case to their immediate supervisors – the American people.”

The proposal, currently before the Committee on House Administration, would allow House members to take a $125 per diem from their Members Representational Allowances (MRAs) to pay for lodging and expenses during legislative sessions.  The plan is being offered as an alternative to a pay increase supported by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).

In his remarks, Schatz noted that the per diems amount to a tax-free bonus for members of Congress – a perk beyond the reach of common taxpayers.  “This comes from the very same House Republicans that crowed in 1995 that they had finally imposed on Congress the same laws that Congress imposes on the American people,” Schatz asserted.  “I hope this is not an example of the vital work Congress was supposedly so eager to get back to during the impeachment trial.”

The last time Congress received a pay raise was in fiscal year 1997, when they received a 2.3 percent cost of living adjustment, increasing their pay from $133,600 annually.

CCAGW is a 600,000-member nonpartisan, nonprofit lobbying organization dedicated to enacting legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

 

 

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