Senate Approves Salary Cut to Clear Way for Clinton

Posted December 10, 2008 at 7:42pm

The Senate passed legislation on Wednesday night resetting the secretary of State’s salary to 2007 levels, clearing the way for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to take the reins of the State Department in the next administration. The bill, passed by a unanimous consent agreement, had been opposed by conservative activists who sought to use the issue as a way to block Clinton’s nomination. Under the Constitution, Senators and Members of the House are barred from taking appointments to the executive branch if the position’s salary was increased during the Congressional session prior to their nomination. Although designed to keep lawmakers from using the power of the purse to set up well-paying executive branch jobs, it has also been an impediment for nominees who would see no real financial gain in accepting a top administration post. Although some had demanded Clinton be blocked from accepting the secretary of State position, the bill was not considered controversial. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hotlined the measure Tuesday to gauge opposition. With no lawmakers raising objections to advancing the legislation, Reid and McConnell moved the bill under a UC that did not require a vote.