The federal sequester’s required across-the-board cuts of $85 billion in the remainder of the federal government’s fiscal year is forcing a number of federal agencies to plan for furloughing employees in order to trim expenses by up to 20 percent.
Many of these employees are going to find themselves in desperate straits soon, through no fault of their own. Congress and the president should at least make an effort to share their pain.
Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., have introduced legislation, the Congressional Overspending Pay Accountability Act, that would reduce the pay of each member of Congress “by the greatest percentage by which the pay of an individual employed by the federal government is reduced as a result of a furlough relating to the sequestration order.”
The legislators should add the president and staff to the bill and pass it as soon as possible. Even if the 27th Amendment prohibits a sitting Congress from increasing or decreasing its own pay, it can change the pay of future legislators (many of whom will be the same people).
Yes, it will be mostly a symbolic act for today’s Congress. But for those who want to stay in office, perhaps the act will focus the minds of the denizens of our nation’s capital on finding a solution in the way that only money can. •