Members of Congress should refuse contributions from political action committees and lobbyists, shouldn’t be paid if they don’t pass a budget, and should see their salaries frozen past the end of this year, South Bay congressional candidate Ro Khanna said Thursday.
Khanna, a former Obama administration official who’s challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda, rolled out his government-reform platform to coincide with public frustration following the 16-day government shutdown and narrowly averted debt-default crisis. It’s expected to become a major theme of his campaign.
In a speech at Mission San Jose High School, Khanna said he’s “not here to point fingers or place blame this morning. I want to share specific ideas for how we can make Congress work better. This is the moral challenge for the next generation of public servants.”
Khanna also said the congressional pension system should be abolished, and lawmakers should be banned both from lobbying for five years after leaving office and from travelling on special interests’ dime.
“These proposals will help turn our members of Congress back into the representatives of the people that they’re supposed to be,” Khanna said. “It will make them more like the voters who send them to office, who have to worry about supporting their families on paychecks that haven’t grown in years. It will make them think twice about cutting Social Security benefits and blocking health coverage that millions of Americans rely on. It will make them more like you and me.”
Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Honda, D-San Jose, had no comment Thursday on Khanna’s proposed reforms. “He has been focused on resolving the budget and debt ceiling crises that the Republican House leadership manufactured, and is currently working on building support for his bill to prevent future crises like these.”
Honda in January introduced H.R. 233, the Restoring Economic Certainty Act, would let the Treasury Department increase the debt limit by an amount that permits normal government operations for one year unless the action is blocked by a veto-proof majority in both chambers. The bill now has 12 cosponsors.