Senators Pass Bill to Stop Automatic Pay Raises

Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:48pm

Senators voted Tuesday to end their two-decades-old automatic annual cost-of-living increases.

“Especially in this hour of economic crisis, the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans would agree that we should end this practice of automatic adjustments,— Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement after the voice vote.

The bill, however, faces an uncertain future in the House, where Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would not promise to bring it to the floor.

“I’m not for it, so I’m not going to commit to bringing it to the floor,— Hoyer said during a press briefing earlier Tuesday.

Reid was following through with a promise he made on the Senate floor last week during the passage of the omnibus spending bill. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had asked repeatedly that an amendment to end the automatic pay raise be attached to the omnibus.

But Reid refused, citing a decision by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) not to accept any changes to the omnibus legislation.

The latest pay raise, for $4,700, took effect in January, and brought all rank-and-file Members’ pay to $174,000.