THE BLOG
01/18/2013 03:28 pm ET Updated Jan 18, 2013

The Many, Many Proposals To Cut Congressional Pay

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced Friday they'll seek a temporary increase in the government's borrowing limit. In return, they want the House and Senate to pass a budget in three months or else lawmakers won't get paid.

"Members of Congress will not be paid by the American people for failing to do their job," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement. "No budget, no pay."

In the recent past, members of Congress have frequently offered to cut their own pay -- just like a cheapskate reaches for his wallet at the end of dinner knowing someone else reached first and will pay the tab.

In the previous Congress, lawmakers introduced at least 27 bills to restrict their own pay, according to the Congressional Research Service. Several bills said lawmakers wouldn't get paid if the government shut down or defaulted on its debts. The Senate passed one such bill, and the House another, but neither almost became law.

Rank-and-file members earn $174,000 annually and receive gold-plated health care and a pension that kicks in after five years. The salary's been frozen since 2009, but it hasn't been cut since 1933.

The biggest perk of all is that members of Congress can cash out and earn bigger salaries as lobbyists pretty much whenever they feel like it. Click here for a story from last year with much more detail on all that.

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