Cooper wants congressional pay stopped if U.S. defaults on debt

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 7:25pm
Staff reports

The office of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., announced Tuesday that the veteran House member will introduce legislation that, if enacted, would stop congressional pay if the United States defaults on the national debt. 

The bill would prohibit members from receiving pay during a default, and would not allow members to recoup the pay retroactively.

“Failure is not an option,” Cooper said in a news release. “But if default occurs, another paycheck for congressmen and senators should not be an option either.”

Cooper is a longtime advocate of a bipartisan debt plan that reduces spending, reforms the tax code and puts the nation on a sustainable fiscal path. He has urged to allow a vote on the “Gang of Six” bipartisan proposal that would have reduced the debt by almost $4 trillion over the next 10 years. The proposal has stalled in Congress.

“Debt and deficits are a bipartisan problem requiring a bipartisan solution,” Cooper said. “I am doing everything possible to get Congress to act responsibly by paying its bills on time, reducing the growth of future spending, keeping our interest rates low and strengthening our weak economy. Time is running out.”

25 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 7/26/11 at 6:17

Great Move!

By: modern4life on 7/26/11 at 8:27

And revoke their tax-payer provided health insurance too.

By: Kosh III on 7/27/11 at 5:54

modern4life on 7/26/11 at 9:27
And revoke their tax-payer provided health insurance too.

No, but switch plans. Put them on Medicare instead.

By: treehugger7 on 7/27/11 at 6:01

Thank you, Coop! A voice of sanity in the capitol! Kosh--I like your idea too!

By: gdiafante on 7/27/11 at 6:35

Purely symbolic. Considering that Congress would have to voluntarily pass such a measure, seems doubtful. I'm sure those morons would agree quickly about that.

By: Nitzche on 7/27/11 at 6:51

shut up vote for all this spending, then try and rise above the fray as a voice of must be confused and think it is a election year...just check his voting record, then laugh with me at his hypocrisy.

By: frodo on 7/27/11 at 7:14

I have to agree with Nitzche. JImbo is very selective about putting his two cents worth into the public debate. Party-man first. What do you think of your president, oh, reasoned one? How preposterous has been his march over the economic cliff? Cat got your tongue?

By: Cookie47 on 7/27/11 at 7:19

I say cut their pay in half permanently and we still wouldn't be getting our money's worth. Remember, they work for us.

This coming from the likes of Jim Cooper (Dem) is the height of hypocrisy.

By: Moonglow1 on 7/27/11 at 7:38

Moonglow1: absolutely cut their pay. I read today that members of Congress are paid $175,000 per year and contribute 1.7 % to their retirement with 17 % in contributions from the taxpaying public. This is in addition to the generous health care benefits they enjoy.

By: Radix on 7/27/11 at 7:43

Symbolic, yes. But while you're at it, cut Obama's too.
Limited Governments, Free Markets, Federalism

By: girliegirl on 7/27/11 at 9:28


By: girliegirl on 7/27/11 at 9:29

@Nitzche -well crap, you'll have 100 MUTES in the Senate then because they ALL were in on the Epic Spending Sprees for the last couple of decades.

By: SchmartGuy on 7/27/11 at 9:39

Nice idea. But it'll never make it out of committee. NEITHER party wants to vote on that. To those that think that President Obama's policies are why we are where we are... Turn the channel to something OTHER than Fox News. More to the point, do your own investigating.
Another point on the 2010 the average cost to get re-elected: House 1.7 million, Senate 8.5 million. Pay in the House & Senate: $175k/yr

By: wasaw on 7/27/11 at 10:00

Is this the best this Vanderbilt alumnus clown can come up this? Here he's making triples figures (above the table) and all he has to say in this well covered issue is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Don't we feel so blessed to have this idiot representing us? Go back to sleep Jim.
Oh, you were asleep. SORRY!

By: modern4life on 7/27/11 at 10:06

Better yet, switch them to an HMO.

By: Cookie47 on 7/27/11 at 10:17

SchmartGuy, they're suppose to be working for us but it's become painfully clear they don't think that way.

How about we kick them all out, both parties, including the precious Obama, and just start over.

Each Congress member makes no more than $75,000 annually. The president gets $100,000. (There's a little more stress in that position.) No perks other than the president lives in the White House.

Make it where people running for Congress can't spend more than $500,000 in their district to get elected. People running for president can't spend more than $10,000,000 nationwide to get elected. EVERY penny must be accounted for, where it came from and where it went, and published before election day. We want to see receipts and all documentation. They can't start campaigning until 3 months before an election for Congress, 6 months out for the presidency. Then, a week before election day, they all have to SHUT THE HELL UP and just let us think without the constant barrage of political BS coming at us.

Sounds simple. Maybe too simple. But maybe that's where this needs to be taken. It's time we took our country back from the politicians no matter what party they belong to.

By: frodo on 7/27/11 at 10:20

Hey Jim, who do you support for prez in2012?

By: SchmartGuy on 7/27/11 at 10:45

Cookie47, the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations from anywhere can donate money to "independent" organizations that back a candidate. Oh, and the 'independent' organization doesn't have to reveal the source! Wheee!
Further, I think you missed the point...if it costs more to get the job than the job pays, then then they are working for someone else.
A more reasonable way is to limit contributions to $50/person or other amazingly low #. There are always problems with limits. A true reform would be more along the lines of taking a test to see if you 'qualify' as a candidate, then a government printed document that lists each candidates positions/qualifications. Then a vote. Oh, and no reelection possible. Serve one term of X years and go back to work. This was supposed to be a citizen democracy.
Hell, I really like to do away with the 'Republic' part of our government and use all our amazing electronic technology to return to a true Democracy. But, then there is all that hacking mischief that could be done.
And you know what....Money STILL wins.

By: Cookie47 on 7/27/11 at 11:26

SchmartGuy, admittedly, there are problems with limits and I openly admitted my idea is a VERY simple one. It doesn't make sense to spend 1.7 million for a job that pays $175,000. It's the power they want as well. All that being said, there's got to be some way of stripping the process clean of all the BS and get back to the point where you serve for the sake of serving and trying to make a difference for the greater good. Too pie in the sky? Yes, but why not?

I love the terms limit idea. Always have. That's something that should have happened a long time ago.

You wrote: "A true reform would be more along the lines of taking a test to see if you 'qualify' as a candidate, then a government printed document that lists each candidates positions/qualifications."

Another great idea.

You also wrote: "Serve one term of X years and go back to work."

Without a pension or benefits. Why the hell should they get a pension or life benefits even now. Maybe I should call my last two employers from the last 30 years and tell them I want them to pay me at least half what I was getting when I worked for them for life. Absurd!!!! Vote them in then send them home. One term. No pension or benefits.

Whatever takes place, we somehow have to make these damn politicians understand in no uncertain terms THEY WORK FOR US - PERIOD!!! And when it comes to these leaches, this Cooper character is one of the worst. Yes, I'm a conservative but I'm not the least bit happy with Alexander either. Fire them all!!!

By: pswindle on 7/27/11 at 12:31

Jim is a great guy. He is considered one of the brains of the House. Let pay it dumb and elect a Tea Party person in his place. This is about the mentality of TN.
Jim has done a lot for TN but the GOP does not care as long as they are in charge. Look what the idiots have done to TN. Haslam is basking off of the work of Bredesen. Just wait until it is on his shoulders. He will be saying, "Where is the money?" He does not have a clue how to run this state.

By: News4free on 7/27/11 at 1:29

27th Amendment to the Constitution pretty much protects Congress from any "congressional pay stoppage" and Jim Cooper knows it. Congress can not pass (any valid) legislation that is in conflict with the constitution. He's just posturing. And our local media is falling for it. Great Headline, no substance!

By: Nitzche on 7/27/11 at 9:42

pswindle...don't worry your check will still come from your party 2x a month!

By: Cookie47 on 7/28/11 at 5:57

pswindle, if Cooper is considered one of the brains on your side, you're in more trouble than we all thought.

Also, you obviously hate Tennessee so here's a thought. Delta is ready when you are. Leave. The rest of us Tennesseans would be better off for it.

By: morpheus120 on 7/28/11 at 12:15

The "Gang of Six" deal is a joke and so is Jim Cooper's posturing.

ANY deal that cuts spending without raising revenue from the tax dodging corporations and wealthy - the ones who caused this mess in the first place - is a farce.

No new taxes? Fine, but no new spending cuts either.

You right-wing class traitors need to get a clue and quit carrying water for the wealthy. Trust me, they are laughing at your blind obedience to their cause.

By: Cookie47 on 7/28/11 at 2:05

Morpheus, great talking points! Excellent job!