U.S. Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) today introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, H.J. Res 33, to allow Members of Congress to cut their pay at any given time. Under this amendment, Congress may reduce their compensation immediately upon enactment of a salary reduction law. The 27th amendment currently prevents members from "varying" their pay, preventing a salary reduction.
"Folks in Washington hide behind the 27th Amendment as a way to keep their salaries, so let's fix it," said Congressman Barrow. "Congress has a long history of failing to do its job, most recently in an effort to find responsible spending cuts to avoid the sequester, which will cause hundreds of thousands of employees to be furloughed. When folks in Georgia and across the country don't do their job, they're penalized. Members of Congress should be held to the same standard."
Currently, under the 27th Amendment, any increase or decrease in a Member's compensation may not take effect until a new session of Congress begins. This bill changes the language to only prohibit a pay increase from happening immediately, thus allowing Members of Congress to vote themselves an immediate pay cut.
Upon enactment, this legislation would allow Congress to pass a legitimate "No Budget, No Pay" that requires Congress to pass, and the President to sign, a federal budget each year. Earlier this year, legislation was signed into law that only temporarily withheld a Members pay, with the 27th Amendment being cited as the main reason for ultimately compensating Members.