According to an Associated Press account, "On a 244-181 vote Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans alike killed a bid ... to get a direct vote to block the COLA, which is automatically awarded unless lawmakers vote to block it. The Senate has not indicated when it will deal with a similar measure. As part of an ethics bill in 1989, Congress gave up its ability to accept pay for speeches and made annual cost-of-living pay increases automatic unless the lawmakers voted otherwise. The annual vote on the pay hike comes on an obscure procedural move -- instead of a direct up-or-down vote -- and Democratic and GOP leaders each delivered a majority of their members to shut off the move to block the pay hike. This year's vote was made ticklish by last year's battle. Republicans said Democrats broke a promise not to use the pay raise issue against GOP lawmakers in campaign ads and therefore were, generally speaking, more reluctant to supply votes. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., worked the floor during the vote to make sure there was relative balance between the warring parties in delivering votes. Working through Blunt, Hoyer forced more than a dozen Republicans to switch their votes in support of accepting the raise, including Reps. Mike Pence and Dan Burton of Indiana ...." Rep. Burton later issued this statement: "Members of Congress, along with every other federal employee, military and civilian, receive automatic annual cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA). As Republicans fight to bring transparency and fiscal responsibility back to our federal budget I believe that it is appropriate for Members of Congress to step up to the plate and refuse the 2008 COLA; and to do so in the light of day not through the Byzantine parliamentary sleight of hand we saw last night. That is why today I introduced the 'Members of Congress Personal Fiscal Responsibility Act' to give all Members a chance for a straight up or down vote on blocking the COLA. I call on the House Democrat leadership to bring this bill to the House Floor for a vote before the scheduled August Recess. In addition, I pledge that if offered a COLA for 2008 I will refuse it."
UPDATE: Dr. John McGoff's response to Burton's explanation on the pay raise issue likens it to John Kerry's famous "I voted for it, before I voted against it" line from the 2004 presidential campaign.
“Over the last eight years, Dan Burton has seen his salary rise nearly $35,000 and not once has he objected,” said McGoff. “He voted for the pay raise again two days ago, but then changed his mind the next day and said he wouldn't accept it. On top of that, now he says he will introduce legislation to block the increase. Perhaps he's a bit confused, but his legislation to block the COLA is pretty much same thing he voted against the day before. It reminds me a bit too much of Sen. John Kerry's flip-flop on body armor. I find it all a bit disingenuous considering that Congressman Burton's had twelve opportunities to cosponsor the same legislation since 2001. Not once did he take the opportunity to do so.”
“Dan Burton said he will refuse the pay increase, but he's never had a problem accepting one in the past,” said McGoff. “Now he has a tough reelection and all of a sudden he says he wants to stand on principle and refuse it. Where was that principle when he didn't have a primary challenger? I think Hoosier voters need to ask him why he didn't return the pay raises before?”
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Burton & Pence Vote For Pay Raise
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R) and U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R) aren't satisfied with their current salary of $162,100 so they voted against blocking an automatic $3,100 pay raise from taking effect, boosting their annual congressional salary to $165,200. Pence and Burton were among about a dozen GOP members who flipped their votes in favor of the pay raise after pressure was applied by House leaders, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland). Here's yet another press release opportunity for Burton's 2008 primary opponent, Dr. John McGoff. Burton issued some lame press release claiming it wasn't as it appeared. The Indiana Daily Insight fills us in on the details: