Morning Business: Pay Dirt

Posted March 10, 2009 at 6:52pm

An amendment that would have forced Members to vote every year on their pay raise failed on Tuesday, but only after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered up an identical, stand-alone bill.

[IMGCAP(1)]Reid’s proposal effectively gave Democrats cover to vote against Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) amendment, which the Majority Leader feared would derail the $410 billion omnibus bill. House leaders said they would give up on an omnibus if the Senate didn’t approve the House-passed version.

With the economy in a free fall and government spending skyrocketing, the always dicey issue of the Congressional pay raises has taken on added heft this year.

Vitter’s amendment appeared to be gaining support prior to Reid’s decision to offer the same proposal.

On Tuesday, Reid proposed that Senators accept his bill by unanimous consent, but Vitter objected, claiming that Reid’s bill would never make it to the House floor.

“I believe the way to actually get this done is to insert it into a must-pass bill like the bill we have before us,— he said.

Reid said he hadn’t heard from House leaders. But the House, he said, will “take care of this themselves.—

Reid’s bill seemed to ease concerns about voting against Vitter’s provision, which was tabled by a tally of 52-45.