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:

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?”


Wilson46201 said...

Maybe Mike Pence needs the cash to buy that improved "Dragon Scales" body-armor to wear when visiting county fairs in his District this summer?

Kurt Luidhardt said...

Thanks for writing about this issue. You probably missed this:

Dan Burton has introduced a bill that would prohibit members of Congress from getting a raise in 2008.

You can also get more information from

Anonymous said...

Kurt & Kristen;

Burton smells a close primary.

He's toast. And an idiot.

He's taken multiple raises over the years, and had no trouble cashing the checks. Or putting his daughter on his campaign payroll for almost $150K.

He ought to be ashamed, and there is no defense. This latest bill he's introduced is a smokescreen.

Anonymous said...

Kurt Luidhardt is on Burton's advisory committee, so don't waste your time addressing a reply to them.

I can't really understand why someone whose blog contains so many anti-gay and anti-equality commentary would really be interested in reading this blog in the first place.

Kurt Luidhardt said...

Contrary to some apparently, we don't think you have to be gay to read Advance Indiana. Although I frequently disagree with Gary, he's a very good read and isn't as fiercely partisan as others.

Wilson46201 said...

The last story AI did on Danny Burton elicited about 5 immediate comments all testifying Burton was the bravest, warmest, gentlest, most wonderful human being they'd ever met in their life. It certainly looked like an obviously coordinated effort from the Burton Batcave...

Anonymous said...

Luidharts, you're certainly entitled to your views. And I'm glad you're opening up your minds by reading a predominantly gay-focused blog. If only your hero Danny felt the same about open-mindedness.

I have a personal theory about open minds: the mind is easier to be open when the mind is truly occupied.

But you choose to support a man whose moral compass is amiss. To say the least.

He's made a complete joke of himself and the state on the floor of Congress more than once. He is entitled ot his far-right views, and I'll support his right to hold them.

But backyard watermelon shooting, if you're trying to prove a point, should not be dragged into the Congressional record. It reminds me of my grandma's saying:

"Better have people think you a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt."

And his pay raise flip-flop, disingenuous as it is, cnanot be assuaged by your attempts to camaflouge it. The sicko has accepted multiple pay raises, and his 67% Republican district turns its head every time he does it. Coupled with his globetrotting golf and votes missed, he has been and will continue to be a complete moron.

If you take an anonymous poll of House members and staffers, of the biggest goofs in the House, Burton will show up in the top five every time.

And he just married his late wife's doctor.

I know....I'm badgering the witness...

He needs to retire while he has a shred of dignity left.