TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006
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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I want to voice my support for amendment No. 2062 offered by my good friend JON KYL, to revoke the scheduled 1.9 percent salary increase for Members of Congress. As a cosponsor of this amendment, I believe that at this point in time it is not fiscally responsible or appropriate for Members of Congress to increase our pay. The Federal Government is currently running a $7.9 trillion budget deficit. I do not believe that it is in the best interest of the United States or the American taxpayers for Members of Congress to vote in favor of a congressional pay raise.
The annual cost of living adjustment for Members of Congress is determined by a formula which automatically takes effect unless Congress prohibits or revises it, which is what I hope my colleagues and I will accomplish today. Under the annual Member pay adjustment procedure, Members are scheduled to receive a 1.9-percent increase in January 2006. With the growing national debt, skyrocketing budget deficit, and increased Federal expenditures expected as a result of the hurricanes this year, it is essential that we exercise fiscal restraint and avoid unnecessary and wasteful spending. We should first start with ourselves and set an example for others to follow. I have been and remain a strong a proponent of smaller government, a balanced Federal budget, and lower taxes.
Today, I am in my home State of Georgia with the Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, working to develop and promote new technologies which will increase agricultural production and expand job growth. For this reason, I am unable to be present for the vote. I encourage my colleagues to seize this opportunity and demonstrate personal leadership in bringing the Federal budget deficit and spending back under control by supporting this amendment. I have consistently opposed a pay raise for Members of Congress throughout my tenure in Congress and urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this amendment.