U.S. Congress approves fiscal cliff bill while blocking part of President Obama’s executive order to increase pay to Congressional members

January 2, 2013

Government/Politics

U.S. Congress approves fiscal cliff bill while blocking part of President Obama’s executive order to increase pay to Congressional members

Dilemma X

U.S. House of Representatives have approved a fiscal cliff bill that puts off budget cuts for 2 months and preserves Bush-era income tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000. President Obama’s original campaign pledge was to raise taxes on those earning over $250,000 annually.

The U.S. Senate passed the “fiscal cliff” legislation by an overwhelming 89-8. Later, in the U.S. House of Representatives 85 Republicans and 172 Democrats voted to pass the bill, while 151 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against the bill or 257-167 to pass the U.S. Senate compromise. The bill will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.

The legislation will also block a $900 automatic pay hike for the members of U.S. Congress from taking effect in March 2013. Under a 1989 law, lawmakers are supposed to receive automatic cost-of-living pay hikes. President Obama had issued an executive order to implement a pay raise to Congress along with a pay increase for federal employees.

House Republican leadership divided on vote

Paul Ryan- Jeb Hensarling -Eric Cantor- Kevin McCarthy- John Boehner

Photo: Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and John Boehner

Speaker of the House John Boehner (Republican OH 8th) voted YES to support the bill.

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (Republican WI 1st), who is chairman of the House Budget Committee and the Republican Vice Presidential running mate for Mitt Romney’s 2012 election bid, voted YES to support the bill.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican VA 7th) voted NO against the bill

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Republican CA 22nd) voted NO against the bill

Chairman of the House Republican Conference Jeb Hensarling (Republican TX 5th) voted NO against the bill.
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Video: President Obama reacts to fiscal cliff vote in House of Representatives January 1, 2013

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Read the American Taxpayer Relief Act 112th Congress 2nd Sess HR 8
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American Taxpayer Relief Act 112th Congress 2nd Sess HR 8

CBO Budget Estimate for Senate Passed Bill
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Congressional Budget Office Estimate of the Budgetary Effects of HR 8

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How the U.S. House of Representatives voted

Click image to enlarge

Vote HR 8

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Salaries of members of the United States Congress

Congress members have been paid $174,000 a year since 2009. On December 27, 2012 President Barack Obama issued an executive order to implement a pay raise to Congress along with a pay increase for federal workers. The order states that federal employees will see a half-percent to one percent pay increase, marking the end of a pay freeze that has been in place since late 2010.

Congress voted in September 2012 to block the pay raise through March 27, 2013. Pay to Congressional members has grown by $32,700 from $141,300 in 2000 to $174,000 in 2009.

Americans wonder what has the U.S. Congress done to earn more pay. Many Americans are still earning less in the private sector and some Americans are still out of work. Keep in mind that the United States is still in recovery from the The Great Recession.

The 104th Congress (1995-1996) had held the distinction of being the least productive session of Congress with just 333 bills becoming law. On this Friday this 112th Congress will end its session and will become the most unproductive Congress since the 1940s, with only 219 bills passed becoming law.

In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995.

When Democrats controlled both chambers during the 111th Congress,125 laws were enacted in 2009 and 258 laws were enacted in 2010. The 111th Congress passed 383 bills and the 110th Congress passed 460 bills.

In 2012 only 61 bills have become law out of 3,914 bills.

Yet, President Barack Obama actually gave members of Congress, federal workers and Vice President Joe Biden an end to a years-long pay freeze with the signing of an executive order to take place during the 113th Congress on March 27, 2013.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is being paid $223,500 and will now be paid $224,600
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is being paid $193,400 and will now be paid $194,400
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is being paid $193,400 and will now be paid $194,400
Vice President Biden is being paid $230,700 and will now be paid $231,900

By statute, federal district judges receive the same salaries as members of Congress.

The Los Angeles Times reported on January 1, 2013 “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the third branch of government was doing its part by holding down spending for the federal courts. Roberts said the U.S. Supreme Court would will ask for $75 million next year, a 3.7% decrease from the spending level of three years ago.”

The New York Times reported January 1, 2007 “Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made judicial pay the sole topic of his second annual report declaring that the failure by Congress to raise federal judges’ salaries in recent years has become a “constitutional crisis” that puts the future of the federal courts in jeopardy. Federal judges rarely left the bench in the past but are now leaving at an increasing rate, 38 in the past six years, including 17 in the last two years. “Inadequate compensation directly threatens the viability of life tenure,” the chief justice said.”

The salary of a U.S. district judge is currently $174,000. At year’s end, there are 75 open seats on U.S. district and appellate courts, nearly 9% of the total.

The new fiscal cliff bill stops Congress from getting its pay raise.

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President Obama’s Executive Order — Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay

Executive Order -- Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay

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The United States Congress votes to block the President’s Executive Order for pay increase to members of Congress

As seen in the American Taxpayer Relief Act 112th Congress 2nd Sess HR 8

No Raise For Congress

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no adjustment shall be made under section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 31) (relating to cost of living adjustments for Members of Congress) during fiscal year 2013.

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Video: U.S. House Rep. Bachmann (Republican) Urges Congress to reject pay raise

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Video: The 80th Congress (from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1949) the “Do Nothing Congress”
The first Republican Speaker of the House since 1931 following a Republican landside election of 1946 where they gained a majority in both branches of Congress

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One Comment on “U.S. Congress approves fiscal cliff bill while blocking part of President Obama’s executive order to increase pay to Congressional members”

  1. Regular Working Guy Says:

    I would love to see what the roll call vote on the HR to overturn the Executive Order for the Federal pay raises and see which of the House members voted Nay.

    Reply

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