U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Bill Nelson will introduce legislation that would cut pay for members of Congress if federal employees are furloughed due to the sequester. The legislation calls for a reduction in Congressional salaries once federal furloughs begin.
“The federal workforce is looking at furloughs that would result in a sizeable pay cut—and there’s absolutely no reason members of Congress should exempt themselves,” McCaskill said. “We can and should reach a balanced compromise to replace these damaging across-the-board cuts, but until we do, this is an obvious step to hold Congress accountable for the job we need to get done.”
The pending cuts are a result of the sequestration requirement Congress passed following debt-ceiling negotiations in 2011. The 2011 legislation required Congress to produce a bill with $1.2 trillion in deficit savings by this time or face across-the-board cuts -- via sequestration -- evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending. Sequestration was designed to be so unpopular that it would force Congress to compromise and replace it with a more sensible deficit reduction approach. But Congress has failed to pass a replacement. In the coming months, the first year of sequestration will begin. As a result of the cuts, many federal workers are expected to be subject to furloughs.
McCaskill has successfully prevented several individual yearly pay raises since arriving in the Senate, the most recent in March of 2012. Members of Congress have not received a pay raise since 2009.