The House today passed a bill, HR 5146, that would cancel an automatic $1,600 pay raise for members of Congress in Fiscal Year 2011, keeping their salaries at $174,000. The bill passed on a 402-15 vote; the U.S. Senate passed a similar measure by unanimous consent last week.
“Congresswoman Lee has consistently voted in favor of cost of living increases for federal workers,” said Nicole Williams, Lee’s communications director.
All other Bay Area members voted for the bill. Even its supporters admit it’s mainly symbolic, saving about $1 million amid an estimated $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit this year – that’s about .07 percent.
But it’s the thought that counts, said Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, probably the Bay Area’s only embattled House incumbent in November’s midterm elections. He issued a statement saying he’d been among the bill’s cosponsors and consistently has worked to eliminate automatic pay raises for Congress.
“At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet, it’s just not right for Members of Congress to get a pay raise,” he said. “That’s why I’ve donated my automatic pay increase to local charities and why I’m going to keep fighting to stop these unnecessary increases.”
UPDATE FROM LISA VORDERBRUEGGEN: Josh beat me to the punch on this one, but I have some additional information about McNerney that readers might find interesting.
This the second year that Congress and McNerney have voted to suspend the automatic pay raise. But in the past couple of years, McNerney contributed his pay raise to local charities. He will have donated an estimated $9,400 to groups such as Tri-Valley Haven in Livermore and Village Commmunity Resource Center in Brentwood.