Skip to comments.Congressional Pay Protected by Constitution
Posted on 01/28/2013 10:41:11 AM PST by John Semmens
Recent legislation passed by the House of Representatives to extend the debt limit included a clause that will withhold salaries from members of Congress if they do not pas a budget. While existing law appears to require that Congress pass an annual budget, the body has neglected to do so since 2009.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) contends that this salary withholding clause is unConstitutiuonal. The 27th Amendment says that 'No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,' Jeffries asserted. My salary is Constitutionally protected regardless of what I do or don't do while I'm here.
That the intent of the Amendment was to block Congress from increasing its own pay didn't seem to faze Jeffries. It doesn't say Congress shall not increase its pay, he pointed out. It says the pay shall not vary.
Jeffries' interpretation received support from across the aisle as Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) agreed with his assessment. As much as I concur with the sentiment that Congress ought to be required to do its job in order to get paid, the Constitution says it doesn't, King observed. Does this make us a privileged class? Maybe, but as a strict constructionist I feel that my hands are tied. It's up to voters to defeat those who don't do their jobs.
if you missed any of this week's other semi-news/semi-satire posts you can find them at...
Yes, the pay of the congress cannot be changed within a session. However as Newt pointed out when talking to Hannity, the House doesn’t have to pay anybody till the end of the session (or the congress, can’t remember what Newt said). So the House can in fact delay senators’ pay until either January, 2014 or January 2015.
Where is the humor?
Well, I would point out two reasons why it can be argued that this law does not apply.
1. The clear intention of the law was that congressman and senators should not be permitted to increase their own salaries. Or, if they did, the voters should have at least one chance to throw them out.
2. If intention is ignored and the letter of the law observed, then it should be pointed out that no one is CHANGING the compensation. They are merely withholding it, until these jamokies do their job.
This may be semi-satire, but the citation from the 27th Amendment is correct, and the scheme to stop the paychecks is illegal.
I’ve always thought it was a stupid scheme. These people aren’t in it for the paychecks, they make tons more just from the graft. Why should they care if their paychecks stop? I’d like to see the paychecks of all the staff of the Congress and the Senate zeroed out, and no back pay, either. That *would* get their attention!
Your point 2 is the correct one. Nobody cares about “intention,” just what’s written down. And they do get the back-pay.
But, I don’t think any Congresscritter (other than the ones who just got in this month) care about the *paychecks,* because the legal graft that comes there way is worth way more than the paychecks. That and they are already independently wealthy and are in it for the *power.”
I once read the surest way to become a millionaire in just a few years is to get elected to Congress. Obama’s net worth after less than two years in the Senate was over a milion (And all student loans paid off), and he’s now worth over 14 million. How did that happen?
” comes there way “ S/B “ comes their way “
My problem with this scheme from the beginning has been the fact that it will disproportionately hit the Tea Party folks. The ones who have been there (the ones who created the problems) have amassed significant wealth at our expense. The new guys (the ones sent to fix the problems) have not. Therefore, the Congresspeople who can least afford to lose their paychecks and most affected by this plan are the very ones we want to be successful. Supporting Boehner would be tantamount to smoking out the Tea Partiers.
And a scheme to stop the ownership of guns is legal?
Why don’t you bring up abortion while you’re at it? The 27th Amendment is far more clear than the emanations of the penumbras.
Please try to stay on topic....