By Congressman Schrader and Congressman Schweikert
At no time in our nation's history has it been more imperative for Congress to work together to reduce the size and cost of government.
We are drowning in an avalanche of debt -- and Congress has an important decision to make. Will we continue to let Washington ignore our serious fiscal problems? U.S. families are adapting to these challenging economic times by tightening their belts, learning to do more with less. They have the right to expect their government to do the same.
In January, the House took an important step by reducing our congressional office budgets by 5 percent, returning them to 2008 levels.
Today, we can send another powerful message to the American people by reducing our own salaries by 5 percent.
Our colleague and friend, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), introduced bipartisan legislation earlier this year to do just that. Her bill would impose an across-the-board five percent pay cut on the salaries of all members of Congress.
"Members of Congress," Gabby said when she introduced the bill, "can't ask any American to cut back before we are willing to make some sacrifices of our own. I'm prepared to do that and I want my colleagues to join me."
We could not agree more.
As members of Congress, we have the unique opportunity to lead with principled measures to protect taxpayers, create jobs and demonstrate we are taking our trust from the American people seriously.
Cutting our own salaries is only a drop in the bucket. But it is a good first step to addressing our overall fiscal crisis and it sends an important message to American families.
The American people are looking for bold action to reduce spending. They want to see members of both parties commit to spending cuts in every corner of the government -- including our own.
We are from different parties -- but we invite all our colleagues to join us in this effort to honor the leadership of our colleague. And show that we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order.
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) is on the House Small Business and Agriculture Committee.Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) is on the House Financial Services Committee.