Loebsack: Congress Once Again Skirts Responsibility to American People PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 11 June 2012 08:31

Majority passes funding bill with no cut to Congressional office budgets

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after House Republicans passed legislation to provide funds for Congress in FY 2013 that did not include a reduction in member office budgets.  Loebsack voted to cut Members’ of Congress’ budgets in both FY 2011 and FY 2012.  Members of Congress’ budgets were cut by 13.5 percent over those two years.

“Once again, the House majority missed an opportunity to do its part to have a personal stake in our nation’s recovery and help reduce the budget.  I have voted in the past to cut the budget to congressional offices because it was simply the right thing to do.  When families and small businesses are making tough decisions about their finances, it is important that Congress do the same thing.  Unfortunately the House Majority declined to make the same sacrifices in this year’s bill that families and employers across Iowa are making every day.”

Since coming into office, Loebsack has set out to change the culture of Washington.  He has worked to pass the biggest ethics reform since Watergate, ended insider trading by members and helped get Congress’ own fiscal house in order.

He has also pushed to cut member’s pay, which hasn’t been done in 77 years, end the revolving door between lobbyists and Congress, get budgets passed on time, and fought to hold members of Congress accountable for actually doing what they were sent to Washington to do.

Additional information on Loebsack’s work is included below.

Loebsack’s Work to Ensure Members of Congress Have a Personal Stake in the Nation’s Recovery 

No Budget, No Pay

Loebsack was the second Member of Congress to cosponsor the No Budget, No Pay Act. This bill would stop Members of Congress’ pay if a budget is not enacted on time.  Members of Congress would not receive this pay retroactively; it would be permanently cut.  Given Washington’s track record of partisan gridlock, measures must be put in place to ensure Congress does its job. If Congress doesn’t do its job, it shouldn’t get paid.

Stop the Revolving Door 

Loebsack was the second Member of Congress and first Democrat to co-sponsor the Stop the Revolving Door in Washington Act, which would more than double the length of the lobbying ban for former Members of Congress.  However, he supports going even farther and was the first Member of Congress to co-sponsor legislation, HR 3491, that would impose a lifetime ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress.  Violators of the ban would be subject to penalties of up to $50,000 in fines and a year in prison.

End Insider Trading by Members of Congress
Members of Congress work for their constituents – they are not elected to make money and trade on the information they get as part of the work they do for the American people.  Congressman Loebsack was the fourth Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which prohibits Members of Congress and their staff from profiting from non-public information they learn as part of their official positions by requiring them to play by the same rules as everyone else.  He has also urged House Leadership to get the strongest possible final STOCK Act to the President’s desk as soon as possible.

Cut Congressional Pay
Members of Congress should demonstrate a personal commitment to getting the Nation’s fiscal house in order.  That is why Congressman Loebsack and former Congresswoman Giffords co-introduced the Congressional Pay Cut Act, which would cut Members of Congress’ salaries by 5 percent and would end the automatic pay increases that occur unless Congress votes to stop them.  This pay cut would mark the first time in 77 years that Congress’ salaries will be reduced.  Loebsack also co-sponsored legislation in 2010 and 2011 that successfully blocked the congressional pay raise.

Shrink Congress’ Budget
Loebsack has voted to cut Members of Congress’ budgets, including his own office’s budget, by 11% over the last year.  Loebsack helped pass legislation to cut Members of Congress’ budgets by 6.4 percent for FY 2012.  That bill also cut the budget of Congressional Leadership offices, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, among others.  He also voted to cut Congressional office budgets in FY 2011, and they were reduced by 7.1 percent. Small businesses throughout Iowa are struggling to make it through this downturn, and this was a small step toward restoring common sense and discipline to congressional spending.

Raise Age Congress Can Draw Pensions
Congressman Loebsack was the first Democrat to join Congressman Schilling (R-IL) in introducing legislation that would tie the eligibility for Members of Congress to draw their pension benefits to their Social Security retirement age.  Currently, Members of Congress can access their full pension benefits at age 62 after five years of service, but can be eligible at age 50 if they have served long enough.  This bill would tie Members’ eligibility for their pension to their Social Security retirement age (65 or 67 depending on when they were born).

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