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Does Congress Deserve a Raise?

President Barack Obama thinks it’s time to give Congress and federal employees a raise. What do you think, Tampa Bay?

Update, Jan. 3 1:24 p.m.: The U.S. House has voted to block the pay raise, according to the Washington Post.

Earlier:

Vice President Joe Biden will earn $231,900 a year. House Speaker John Boehner will get $224,500. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s pay will change to $194,400 annually.

Those figures, according to the Huffington Post, represent the salaries of some of America’s top politicians after a half-percent pay increase goes into effect for all members of Congress, the vice president and federal employees in March 2013. There are 2.8 million federal workers.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order removing the pay freeze on federal positions in the midst of the fiscal cliff negotiations. The act effectively raises the pay of federal government employees by a half-percent on March 27, as well as members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.

Federal workers' pay has been frozen at 2010 levels, which Obama supported to curb spending and lower the deficit. After his re-election, Obama promised to ease that.

While Congress and federal employees will get a bump in pay, many Americans will see their paychecks shrink this year. The payroll tax holiday was not included in the financial package passed by Congress passed late New Year’s night to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. The ending of the holiday means Americans who earn $50,000 will see their take-home pay shrink by about $1,000 a year, according to the Post.

While some say the time has come to give public workers a raise, others argue the country can ill afford spending the additional money.

One of the loudest voices of opposition comes from one of the order’s beneficiaries, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She’s already introduced legislation to rescind Obama’s order and the movement is starting to gain some support from others in Congress.

“This executive order was not requested by Congress and we should reject it,” Bachmann wrote in a statement.” We have a spending problem in our country and we should be looking for areas to cut spending. At a time when families across the country are cutting back we should not increase government spending and add to the debt burden by giving members of Congress a pay raise. We need to begin with ourselves and I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort.”

What do you think, Tampa Bay? Should Congress get a raise? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Karol Franklins January 03, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I agree Tom .....we need to stay on track...does Congress deserve a raise? NO! the Postal service has been losing work due to e-mail, etc. Many Post Offices have closed due to this. How many management position can be eliminated? Who knows?
Karol Franklins January 03, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Again, we were here, we voted too.....the question posted is "Does Congress deserve a raise"?
Paul Allen January 03, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Well said Fritz Trail!
Michael D. January 03, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Karol, Email has eliminated a good amount of mail, but so has package shipping companies like Fedex, UPS, etc.. because customers trust those organizations to arrive one time. Part of the problem with government caps the amount of services the Postal Service can offer. But the ideal Postal Worker of yester-year no longer exists. The postal employee that most people assume is there, no longer exsists.
Karol Franklins January 03, 2013 at 05:11 PM
I agree Michael D....technology has cost jobs....and people pay too much for it! I myself have a pre paid phone, very limited. BTW....baynews9 just said something about the 2.0% increase affecting 2012 taxes...? True? Can someone help me with this answer?
Woody Richey January 03, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Does this uber-lazy Congress deserve their first raise since 1999? NO! However, I suppose that it was part of a deal to get certain Congressmen to capitulate and vote for some bill (lousy as it may be) to postpone the "cliff." In Wash. DC, it's all in the art of the deal. Certainly not what's in the best interest of the Country.
Ronald Joseph Kule January 03, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Congressional pay raises and REDUCTIONS should be tied to a graph indicating the state or condition of the federal budget and the country's viability. In other words, reward good production and fiscal sense; penalize out-of-control spending and mismanagement. An openly transparent graph showing trend and viability to the People, regularly kept up, should be the minimum standard for Congressional pay considerations. Congress today should be subject to a pay decrease.
Larry January 03, 2013 at 06:52 PM
I agree that NO WAY should Congress or Federal employees get a pay raise. Last year when there was no cost of living increase Congress Voted themselves a raise as always; each year no matter what. I also think elected officials should only get to choose one pension for one elected position during their political career. Getting paid for 3 or 4 pensions is even a greater burden on the tax payer, and ridiculous to have to pay a pension for only working maybe 4 years at a elected job.
The Costume Closet January 03, 2013 at 07:35 PM
They want to reduce taxes, but want a raise? hmmm, how do they get paid? If I were doing a bad job, I would not get a raise!
mary ann van schaick January 03, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Hell no. Would you or anyone else get paid for NOT doing the job. They do and continue to bleed the American people while their nest eggs, health care, and salaries are taken care of by us. Enough. They are all worhtless and only out for themselves. Congress DOES NOT SPEAK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Isn't that taxation without representation? Staring with the President and the rest trickles down hill.
JUDY CRAIN January 03, 2013 at 08:02 PM
WOW, I AM SO MAD ! OF ALL THE TIMES THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED ! BEING REWARDED FOR BAD BEHAVIOR ! SAD. ALL OF US TRYING SO HARD TO MAKE A LIVING AND GETTING NOWHERE, ITS REALLY PITIFUL TO FIND THIS OUT. IT WON'T AFFECT ME AT ALL BUT I FEEL FOR SO MANY WHO PROBABLY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN DECIEVED. WRONG MOVE ! I THINK WE SHOULD FIRE THEM ALL, THEY DID NOTHING ! SAT ON THEIR HANDS, BORED. IF ONLY THEY KNEW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO TRY AND FEED A FAMILY. OH, I AM SOOOO MAD, HOPE OTHERS ARE TOO, WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO STOP LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO EASY TO HAVE SAID, ABSOLUTELY NO RAISE FOR YOU ALL AT THIS TIME WHEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE , WHO PAY YOUR SALARY, BY THE WAY, ARE ALL HURTING, EXCEPT THE WEALTHY ONES WHO SEEM TO ALWAYS COME OUT SMELLING LIKE A ROSE. THEY CAN AFFORD TO BE TAXED MORE BUT ,ONCE AGAIN, ITS THE MIDDLE CLASS GETTING MISTREATED. YES, A DECREASE IS WHAT THEY NEED AND WE WOULD FEEL SO MUCH BETTER !!!!! ENOUGH
Michael D. January 03, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Actually, technically they are the representation. So it isn't taxation without representation.
Von P. January 03, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Michael, The postal service is just fine except, Christmas Eve 2006 they passed a bill that makes them fund the next 75 years of health benefits to retirees in the next 10 years. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/09/28/330524/postal-non-crisis-post-office-save-itself/ As to the raises of congress, NO. ans they should never get a pension for life.
Michael D. January 03, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Von, Even without those 75 years of heath benefits, they are an organizational nightmare. Though the 75 years was ridiculous. The whole organization and employees within need to be streamlined. Multiple business/process analyst have studied and done in house accessments. It is one of many Federal Government organizations that are bloated under their own weight. They are also not prepared for the future growth.
April January 03, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Incompetence comes to mind.....but truly....we could vote them out, but do we.....we should be angry at ourselves for our lack of action.....it is time to do something as a whole unit, as a nation, to fight our arrogant, lazy politicians.....
RD January 03, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Wow, nice going, Sherri. Apparently you only read the headlines and watch Fox News. Congress hasn't given itself a raise since 2009. Most of them are wealthy enough that they should do their job at no charge but then with the exception of Bernie Sanders, not a damn one of them does anything but blow hot air. How about you report how the House of Representatives decided not to renew the Violence Against Women Act and how they decided not to fund the Hurricane Sandy Relief effort. The Huff Post also reported how John Boehner and the Republican party came down hard on Gov Christie and Peter King for lambasting them in public. I believe he is quoted as saying "Go f**k yourself." - John Boehner to Harry Reid after the Senate voted to pass both.
Tom Ford January 04, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Michael, You have obviously had a bad experience or two with the postal service. The "Fat" in the organizations has little to do with the deserving middle class federal workers who have not had any cost of living adjustments in over 2 years. Yes we need to look at, reorganize and remove unnecessary programs/agencies that do the same job. I.E. FBI, CIA, ATF, Boarder Patrol, U.S. Marshals etc. In the past the our leaders vowed reform and cut the federal work force. They did not eliminate the need for those jobs to be done so they contracted out (at a higher cost) all those positions. Bottom line is the good federal employee is unfairly Lumped in with the slackers in Washington. Please try to remember that fact.
Michael D. January 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Tom, A bad experience or two doesn't explain all the data and business professionals that have do analysis over the federal organzations and seen that in most cases their are over bloated with both personality, regulations and compensation. As some one who has to deal with Federal Organizations as part of my professional life, I see it just about everyday. The Federal Government's business model is outdated. I am going to assume from your position you are someone close to you is a Federal Employee. And yes, many jobs by the Federal Government are needed, but many are not as well. As far as cost of living wages, yes a lot of industries (Fed, State, Local, and private) that have gone without those for the last 4 to 5 years. That is just life in a recession, so that is a poor agrument. As for the good federal employee being unfairly lumped, That is the point I will agree with. There are good federal employees and they are excellent. But that doesn't change the fact the need for organizational overhaul of most if not all the federal organizations. Because you are making the assumption that the slackers in the Federal Organizations are just in Washington.
S. Ripley January 04, 2013 at 03:54 PM
In my ongoing efforts to be contrarian… I would argue that senate and house positions are vastly underpaid. The salaries for these “top politicians” pale in comparison to the top earners in the private sector, where actual performance is a much bigger factor. This is a major reason why politics attract mediocre talent at best-- those with the chops, leadership skills, and experience stick to the private sector where that can make serious money and avoid dealing with all the BS that comes with politics. Note that I said the positions are underpaid, not necessarily the current occupants. That said-- it is our fault these folks are not preforming, we voted them in, and thus we have nobody to blame but our selves. Lowering the pay for these positions will only further discourage our best and brightest from entering politics. Ultimate it comes down to our collective laziness. It is far easier to bitch and moan (and blog) about cutting politicians pay. It far more difficult to be an informed constituent, vote, and get involved.
Michael D. January 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Or we can be like me, vote and get involved and complain. yeeeeaaa
Rokki Smith January 04, 2013 at 08:31 PM
I found this interesting-- Children of congress members and staffers of Congress family members do not have to pay back their college student loans. 35 States have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government. Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention. For too long, we've been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens have no idea members of Congress can retire with the same pay even after only ONE term! They specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Health-care Reform... in all its forms. We should not have an elite that's above the law! I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. This self-serving must stop! Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.
S. Ripley January 04, 2013 at 09:30 PM
The student loan thing is false. http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/studentloans.asp
The Costume Closet January 04, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Please tell me who verifies the information that snopes provides?
vera charles January 04, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Well, it seems that "The Costume Closet" author feels as if we have to prove that something is NOT correct, rather than her having to prove that something is correct. That concept is Napoleanic Law, where you must prove that you are innocent, rather than our American standard, derived from English Law, where you must prove that someone is guilty. That English Law concept is what our Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution. But if Closet doesn't like Snopes, he or she can always try the two other excellent sources of de-bunking, or, as I like to call it, "removing the BS" from the discussion. Those other two are www.FactCheck.org, and www.Politifact.com. But www.snopes.com also gets into lesser matters than either FactCheck or PolitiFact cover, though I'd bet that matters relating to claims about student loans would probably be covered by at least one of the two.
Goin' Commando January 04, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Why is Fritz Trail trying to shout at everyone else, with his capitalizing of every word in his rant? The shift key is on the lower right and left, Fritzie. Besides, it may help you to think more clearly, if you take time to compose more rationally.
Karol Franklins January 05, 2013 at 01:45 PM
If they get/give themselves a raise I am seriously moving to Canada....I am searching for a blog this this that is National....anyone? Our 6.2% tax hike is applying to LAST YEAR? Seriously?
Karol Franklins January 05, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Judy, why won't this affect you at all? It affects everyone......6.2% on Medicare and SS? While you know they WILL give themselves a raise and we pay for that too.
Karol Franklins January 05, 2013 at 03:53 PM
WHY do you ASSUME we didn't vote? Elections are NEVER 100% for one person. Too many factors involved in this election. MOST of us VOTED......I am not lazy, I would not have the right to 'bitch & moan' if I didn't.
Karol Franklins January 05, 2013 at 03:56 PM
The taxpayers have ALWAYS paid for ANY President's vacations......that's another topic but TRUE. Why pick on this President, all of them are guilty of that. There SHOULD be a change in that, I totally agree but, isn't that part of the 6.2% tax increase? They only think of themselves.
Karol Franklins January 05, 2013 at 06:17 PM
It would be GREAT to have a President who has a conscience about taxpayers paying for their vacations.....you have money....use your own! Or invite everyone else? Pay for mine? Which I have not had in YEARS.....

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