Friday afternoon. Right on schedule.
Dem Rep Eric Massa, under pressure from colleagues to step down as his ethics controversy gains steam, will resign on Monday at 5 PM, his chief of staff confirms.
The reason is health related,' the chief of staff, Joe Racalto, emails. A statement is forthcoming from his office. Because it isn't healthy to be a Democrat in the upcoming election ...
Hotline on Call first reported Massa's impending resignation, citing a source close to Massa.
Earlier this week Massa announced that he wouldn't run for reelection, and the House ethics committee said it was probing allegations against him, including reported sexual harassment of a staffer.
The pending resignation will feed a developing narrative in D.C., amid this and the Charlie Rangel mess: That Dems, after taking power in 2006 by running against GOP corruption, are sinking into the same ethics swamp they had vowed to drain.
With so many citizens across American feeling the pinch of the recession and with a bloated budget looming over them, it's time for members of Congress to take pay cut, some House members are saying.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) this week introduced the "Taking Responsibility for Congressional Pay Act," which would cut senators' and representatives' salaries by 5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2011. The measure would enact the first pay cut for Congress since 1933.
At least 12 other congressmen have signed onto the bill this week.
The purpose of the bill is to "make Members of Congress show a personal commitment to cutting federal spending," according to a press release.
"Families across the country are getting by on lower wages and finding ways to cut back during the downturn, and these are the folks that pay our salaries," Kirkpatrick said in a statement. "The federal government's budget is in much worse shape, so why shouldn't senators and representatives have to feel the same pinch?"
Kirkpatrick has promised to return 5 percent of her own salary this year to show her commitment to the proposal. According to the release, Kirkpatrick feels the measure should be easy for her congressional colleagues to support since it saves taxpayer dollars without cutting any valuable programs.
Most members of Congress make $174,000 per year, though leadership makes more.
1) Congresscritters give up all overseas junkets possible. For the ones they must do, all travel is done aboard a stock C-130.
2) Sell all the VC type aircraft currently held by the Air Force.
3) All domestic travel is via coach-class.
4) Charge a market rate for parking around Capitol Hill; congresscritters pay just like everyone else.
5) Reduce the per-diem by 10%, ditto the housing allowance.
6) Cut staffing levels in all congressional offices and committees by 10%. Cut the salaries of the ones who are left by 5%.
Posted by: Steve White ||
03/05/2010 11:21 Comments ||
Congresscritters have to take care of their own paperwork, including remedying identity theft and filling out their tax forms. This should reduce the overload of paperwork we have to deal with from all sides in life.
Congressional salaries are tied to the overall health of the middle class.
No special health benefits.
Ethics violations result in immediate suspension and revocation of benefits.
Yes, cut the bennies, cut the pension, cut the staff, ban rollover of election campaign funds. However, we're also reaping for what we do pay. Why do sports teams pay big salaries for players? Why is the military paying substantive bonuses to recruit and retain troops? We want them to run trillion dollar budgets and government with significant international commitments and we pay crap compared to other sectors of the society. We certainly get those who simply use their salaries for per diem while really racking up the compensation by selling their seat to other interests. And we will continue to get the 'bought' as long as compensation is such as not to attract the capable. It's time to face the fact that our need to hold on to the myth of the good guys/gals always willing to step up and stoically bear the responsibilities of governing at non-competitive compensation as compared to other opportunities is what brought us here. You either pay them, or the special interests pay them and that is who they work for.
P2K, that's the traditional other side of the coin argument. I wouldn't argue against it as such, but do we really think that if we paid Congresscritters (say) $1 million a year, that we'd have a better class of politician running for the job? That we wouldn't have the continued earmarks, payola, quid-pro-quos and deal-making?
No, my friend, human nature being what it is, there is no salary high enough to cause the honest folk to shoulder the pols aside.
Posted by: Steve White ||
03/05/2010 13:54 Comments ||
Amazing - a Democrat saying something I agree with!
And gorb, re. filling out their tax forms I have been saying this for years - not to save money but to make them go through the same pain they cause us, and FIX THE D*MN TAX CODE>
Procopius2k, check out how Senators and Representatives used to be paid. It was peanuts. And it worked.
Another bennie for being a member of Congress is all the bribes and other under-the-table compensation. The job just begs the kinds of folks who end up filling it. The whole compensation structure needs to be changed to call to the kinds of folks who want to make the right kind of difference.
The only thing I see here is: "My Re-Election Campaign is in 'trouble', so I have to do something to look good."
Otherwise Ms. Kirkpatrick would have never broached this idea.
I wonder what letter is next to the other twelves' names?
Posted by: Mullah Richard ||
03/05/2010 15:47 Comments ||
..but do we really think that if we paid Congresscritters (say) $1 million a year, that we'd have a better class of politician running for the job?
At a mil a year you'll certain expand the field of people will try given the few qualifications proscribed by the job. How many people try for major league sports? How many people try for American Idol? All for the potential of a wad of cash as the pay off. Aren't you tired of political hacks from the good old boy parties, or the used car salesman, or the realtors?
Procopius2k, check out how Senators and Representatives used to be paid. It was peanuts. And it worked.
Another bennie for being a member of Congress is all the bribes and other under-the-table compensation.
Excluding comments about peanut farmers [how'd that work out], most everyone made low pay way back then. Except we don't live 'way back when' now. If you look now, it isn't working. My point is that the current salaries aren't the basis of their income value rather its what you call 'bennies'. That is their real source of value for their seats. And that's who they really work for as a consequence. Notice how many Donks are dropping out now. They can convert all that campaign money in their accounts to personal money upon leaving Congress. It's just like a buy-out in other professions. Rather than gamble that pile of assets upon an iffy reelection they're literally taking the money and leaving.
It is true that star athletes get millions because of supply and demand - there are very few people who can consistently throw a baseball at 90+ miles per hour into a small designated area, for example. However, there are lots of people who could sit in Congress.
Another difference between star athletes and Congresscritters is that the athletes don't get to set their own salary.
If the Congrescritters were superstars, they could succeed at things other than sitting in Congress.
The people should vote on Congresscritters' salaries - and the vote should not be on how much of a raise they will get, unless there is a chance for a negative percentage rate.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
03/05/2010 17:17 Comments ||
It is true that star athletes get millions because of supply and demand -
Well, then obviously there's not a big 'demand' for competent Congresscritters. Otherwise, as they say, we'd put your money where our mouth is. Just like the 'other guy' is suppose to pay for socialism, the 'other guy' is suppose to the the hard work of responsible government on the cheap. In both cases it appears that in the end, the money will not be there.
when the average congresscritter leaves office much wealthier than can be explained by their salary, it's no wonder there are applicants
Posted by: Frank G ||
03/05/2010 18:58 Comments ||
That's why I figure one scenario with the Chinese heavily invested in government bonds by the hundreds of billions, they're going to protect their interests. So, in the end, our Congresscritter may virtually be outsourced to Beijing as well. Special interests pay better. Of course the side effect will be to get our economic house in order to pay the bonds off. Strange bedfellows it could turn out to be.
The fix for Congress and the power of the PACs and the special interests isn't that members of Congress take bribes for themselves. They need all the money to pay for the media costs. All we need to do is adopt a universal system of FREE media and public airway time, each member and competitor above a reasonable level in the primary process gets exactly the same amount. The media gives it FREE as a condition of license, and it is illegal to advertise outside of that. Interested voters get to see the advertising of contenders for the positions, dopes pull the party lever without the annoying discussion of who rules them, and special interests have no lever to control the politician. Then, taking a personal bribe is a felony as an elected offical with serious jail time. And voila, more representative and honest government.
The last Presidential election cost over a billion dollars, and who got all the money. The media!
Smell the coffee my friends....
His sin here isn't that he wanted to have sex with his (male) staffer (although sexual harassment is very wrong), or that he was attempting to cheat on his wife (although that is both sleazy and wrong). His sin was that he was apparently a bad enough boss that other staffers didn't feel the need to protect him, and instead turned him in. You reap what you sow. Good for the senior staff member who did the right thing, and hurray for the possible seat switch.
h/t Charles Hill @ "Dustbury", who comments (emphasis added):
I dunno. I figure anything done or attempted on the side qualifies as sinful as well as sleazy, but I have to figure, if your own staff sells you out, you can't be much of a bargain.
While the getting's good. These guy's skying out must be seeing November in their nightmares...
WASHINGTON Representative William Delahunt will not seek re-election to Congress, the seven-term Democrat will announce tomorrow, ending a nearly 40-year career in elected office and giving Republicans hope of capturing the seat, which stretches from Cape Cod to the South Shore.
"It's got nothing to do with politics," the Quincy Democrat said today. "Life is about change. I think it's healthy. It's time." Past time ...
The 68-year-old lawmaker said he has been considering leaving the House for several years, but was talked out of it two years ago by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who convinced his friend he should stay and help President Obama with his first-term agenda.
"He said, 'Come on this is a new time. It's a new era. We [will] have a new president. We're all needed," Delahunt recalled Kennedy telling him. Once Kennedy died last year, Delahunt said he grappled with whether to stay and work on the issues Kennedy held dear.
"Clearly, since his death, there's something missing. There's a void. With the void, you feel the need to be here because there's much to do," Delahunt said wistfully in an exclusive interview.
But the congressman said he concluded that after nearly four decades in public service, the grueling House schedule was taking its toll on his personal life.
"I've got a granddaughter," the divorced father of two said. "Given the pace down here, I don't want to miss out on her childhood, her first year."
The congressman has faced recent questions about the handling of the 1986 Amy Bishop shooting case, which occurred when he was Norfolk County district attorney. Delahunt has said consistently that his office was not told that Bishop fled with a loaded weapon after killing her brother in what police then called an accident. But the case has absolutely nothing to do with his decision to retire, Delahunt said.
Voters in Delahunt's 10th District gave Republican Scott Brown his best margins in the state in the special Jan. 19 election to fill Kennedy's seat. But Delahunt said the wave of anti-incumbent anger also did not affect his decision.
Delahunt's retirement is the 17th among House Democrats, and the third among lawmakers with close ties to Kennedy. Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and a close Kennedy friend, announced his retirement in January; Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, the late senator's son, followed suit last month.
The lawmaker established himself in Washington as a leading appeaser voice in his party on Latin American and Caribbean issues, traveling many times to Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela, where Delahunt negotiated with president Hugo Chavez to provide discounted oil from Venezuela, the fourth largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States. Yeah, Suntan Billy liked heading south. And if he had to kiss some commie ass to get a free "fact finding" trip down in, like, February, it was a small price to pay. I'm sure Hugo and El Jefe will always be glad to see him. They might even put him on the payroll to be their mouthpiece in DC.
He also hosted a "Grupo de Boston" weekend in the Cape with Venezuelan government and opposition leaders, hoping to get the feuding sides together by having them spend time together in a neutral place.
First introduced two years ago by Reps. Giffords and Sam Johnson, a Texas Republican, the proposed system is only now gaining attention following the publication of the government-commissioned report, which estimated that more than half of the illegal immigrants run through the E-Verify system are wrongly being deemed authorized to work because they use stolen identities.
Giffords' proposal, known as the New Employee Verification Act, or NEVA, would require employers to run new hires through more federal databases and encourage background checks.
Her plan is supported by 10 U.S. lawmakers - three Democrats and seven Republicans. It also has the backing of numerous business groups.
But some analysts question whether the system proposed by Giffords would actually be more reliable than E-Verify at preventing illegal workers using stolen identities from getting jobs. The system also raises privacy concerns because it calls for employers to conduct background checks and collect biometric information on new employees that could be deemed too intrusive.
Giffords and Johnson introduced NEVA in February 2008 partly in response to Arizona's employer-sanctions law, which took effect on Jan. 1 of that year. The sanctions law requires all businesses in Arizona to screen new employees through E-Verify to make sure they are authorized to work in the U.S. The law can force employers out of business for knowingly hiring illegal workers.
Eleven other states also require some or all businesses to use E-Verify. The program is voluntary in other states, but momentum is building in Congress to make E-Verify mandatory nationwide.
Giffords, a former small-business owner, said that in the wake of the sanctions law, she heard many complaints from businesses that E-Verify was not reliable, yet they were being forced to use it.
The problem with E-Verify, she said, is that the system sometimes falsely rejects U.S. citizens and legal workers and wrongly approves illegal workers using stolen identities, putting employers at risk of firing legal workers and hiring unauthorized workers in violation of the law.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.