Buchanan moves to block congressional pay raises

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan will introduce legislation this week to prevent members of Congress from getting a pay raise unless they balance the budget.

“Congress should not get a pay raise until it shows the discipline necessary to balance the budget and reduce the debt,” Buchanan said in a news release.

The Congressional Budget Office said last week that the deficit this fiscal year is estimated to be $1.2 trillion.

The first bill Buchanan introduced in 2007 would amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. The Buchanan Balanced Budget Amendment would have held spending increases to 5percent and balance the budget by 2012.

From 2001 through 2008, federal spending increased 6.9 percent per year, on average. Had spending increases been limited to 4.4 percent annually, the 2008 budget would have been in balance.

“Until Congress gets spending under control it doesn’t deserve a salary hike,” said Buchanan, who is donating his automatic pay raise to charity.

Buchanan voted with a minority of lawmakers in 2007 to stop a roughly $4,400 pay raise that brought congressional salaries to nearly $170,000 a year. This year’s pay raise is $4,700, bringing congressional salaries to nearly $174,000.

Buchanan is donating $9,100 to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The non-profit organization founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano and promoted by ESPN College basketball analyst Dick Vitale is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.