Kirkpartick Blasts Leaders for Inaction on Pay-Cut Bill

Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:10am

Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick on Friday ripped her leadership for stonewalling her efforts to move a bill cutting lawmakers’ pay.

In May, Members sent a bill to President Barack Obama freezing their own pay for the second consecutive year. But Kirkpatrick, who is in a tough battle against Republican Paul Gosar in Arizona’s 1st District, wants Democratic leaders to go further and move legislation she’s introduced that would cut Members’ salaries by 5 percent. She’s arming herself with a Rasmussen poll released Tuesday indicating three-fourths of likely voters support cutting Congressional pay until the federal budget is balanced.

“I’m frustrated,” she said, adding that her irritation is directed in large part at her own leadership. “I’m angry. I’m just like the American people.”

Kirkpatrick, who first met with leaders about her proposal earlier this year, said she would make a fresh push in September for her proposal. She has already asked that the pay cut to be included in the fiscal 2011 spending bill that funds the legislative branch. She also asked for a hearing in the House Administration Committee.

“I’m pushing it every single day,” she said. “It’s another example of Washington not listening to the people … Why Washington doesn’t get it, I don’t know. Enough is enough.”

Since March, Kirkpatrick, who is among a group of Democrats from conservative-leaning districts that have been critical of leadership’s spending proposals, has been retuning 5 percent of her pay each month to the Bureau of Public Debt. Her comments are the latest sign of dissention within Democrats’ ranks on spending and fiscal issues.

“The fact is, Congress has no credibility on this issue,” she said. “The people have heard a lot of tough rhetoric about fiscal discipline, but for more than 10 years what they’ve actually seen from both parties are growing deficits and skyrocketing debt. Members can’t ask anyone else to cut back before we are willing to make some sacrifices of our own. It’s time for us to stop talking and start leading.”

The office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.