Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) has agreed to donate 15 percent of his Congressional salary to federal debt reduction, a symbolic gesture that has landed him in billionaire Warren Buffett’s good graces as the only sitting lawmaker to do so.
Rigell explained his decision to return a chunk of his government paycheck to the Treasury to Bloomberg Television. Both men stressed that they were under no delusions that the modest giveback would drastically affect the mounting federal budget deficit.
“We have a $1.2 trillion deficit. Contributions aren’t going to make a big difference,” Buffett counseled. “But I think the American public wants to see a sign, of any kind, almost, that the Members of Congress take this as serious as they should.”
Rigell concurred, noting, “It’s not gonna change the course, even if matched by every single Member of Congress.”
A Rigell aide confirmed the Congressman had signed back part of his paycheck in 2011 and would repeat it this year. The aide said Rigell made the decision after being elected, not because of Buffett's goading.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.