Sen. David Vitter, R-La., thinks members of Congress shouldn't receive automatic pay raises each year and he has introduced a bill requiring members to vote publicly to make them happen."If members of Congress want a raise, they should have to explain to the American people why they deserve it, rather than automatically receiving it year in and year out," Vitter said in a statement.
Congressional salaries are increased yearly for cost-of-living considerations, though Congress can vote to leave salaries the same, something they've done the last two years. The 2011 salary increase would have added $1,600 to the current $174,000 per year members make.
Vitter says with the economy struggling, Congress should have to vote for salary increases rather than against them.
"Many employees in Louisiana and across the country have lost their jobs or been forced to accept pay freezes, and it makes no sense for Congress to continue automatically receiving annual raises without having to publicly vote on it."A measure similar to the one Vitter introduced passed the Senate back in 2009 but never made it through the House. However one bill recently submitted in the House shows that some think congressional pay freezes aren't enough.
Days before the Tucson shooting that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., she introduced a bill in the House that would cut congressional members' salaries by five percent.
The last time members of Congress took a pay cut was in 1933 during The Great Depression.