U.S. Sen. David Vitter today introduced several "good government" and reform-minded bills in the U.S. Senate, including bills on issues he's long championed in the Senate such as eliminating automatic pay raises and implementing Congressional term limits. Vitter was successful in putting term limits in Louisiana when he was a member of the Louisiana state legislature.
"There is real bipartisan disappointment in Congress and its dysfunction, and it should certainly not get rewarded with automatic pay raises without public debate." Vitter said. "We can start working together in a bipartisan fashion by flatly requiring any member of Congress who wants an automatic raise each year to publicly ask for, defend it, and explain it to their constituents by putting it to a vote."
Vitter's bipartisan bill reintroduced today with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is the latest step in his ongoing effort to eliminate automatic congressional pay increases. In 2009, the Senate adopted a provision nearly identical to Vitter's, which sought to eliminate the annual raises for Congress, but the bill languished in the House as Speaker Pelosi never called it up for a vote.
"Not allowing individuals to remain in office for an eternity is another step we need to take to restore confidence in Congress," Vitter said. "Call it Potomac Fever, or whatever you'd like, but the longer some folks are in Washington, the more taxpayer money they want to spend," said Vitter, who has advocated for implementing term limits since his days in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Another one of Vitter's bills introduced today would prohibit spouses and immediate family of Members of Congress from receiving a payment from the individual's campaign account. He also introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). Click here to read an op-ed by Sen. Vitter about his concerns with the Corps' mismanagement of projects and funds.
The text of an op-ed Vitter co-authored with former Democrat U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, another past leader on ending pay raises, is here.
A list of the bills introduced today by Vitter is as follows:
* Repealing automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress.
* Limiting the number of terms that a Member of Congress can hold to three terms in the House and two in the Senate.
* Prohibiting spouses and individual family members from receiving payment from a Member of Congress' Political Action Committee or campaign funds.
* Reforming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by eliminating red tape and expediting backlogged flood control projects.