Campus Notebook: Belts Tighten

Posted November 30, 2009 at 6:20pm

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) wants Members to cut their office budgets by 5 percent and give up their annual automatic salary raises.

[IMGCAP(1)]The proposal is part of his Control Spending Now Act, which lays out several ways to reduce the nation’s deficit. Both ideas aren’t new: Feingold and a few other Members have pushed for Congress to “tighten its belt— in the wake of the recession. But they haven’t gotten far, partly because House and Senate leaders have long agreed not to take such measures to the floor.

In a recent press release, Feingold announced that he returned $270,000 of his fiscal 2009 office budget to the treasury. If every office followed his lead, he claimed, Congress would save about $54 million a year.

“After the Thanksgiving feast, Americans often make a real effort to ‘tighten their belts,’— Feingold said. “In that spirit, and in the face of record deficits, Congress should do the same. Trimming congressional office budgets won’t eliminate our tremendous deficit, but it is a clear signal to the American people that we are serious about addressing our record deficit.—

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