REVOLUTIONARY WAR AND WAR OF 1812 BATTLEFIELD PROTECTION ACT--Continued -- (Senate - March 17, 2009)
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AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES
Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I rise to applaud the action the Senate took by unanimous consent, passing my language to get rid of the automatic pay raises for Members of Congress through the Senate. I thank Senator Reid for joining in this effort after my amendment was made in order on the Omnibus appropriations bill. I thank everyone who cooperated in passing this by unanimous consent. I was happy to give that consent for my part since my vote on an amendment on another bill was no longer at stake, so it wouldn't drain votes away from my amendment. We did come together to do that, and we did pass this through the Senate. Obviously, this is a bicameral legislature so the story is not over. I encourage everyone to come together and encourage--no, do more than encourage--pressure the House of Representatives to do the right thing and pass this reform. The last week has proven what can be changed when we come together and listen to the voice of the people.
A week ago this wasn't on radar. This was not a possibility. Today it has passed the Senate. How did that happen? It happened because we brought up the issue. We came together. I joined with Senator Feingold, who has been an advocate of this issue for some time. We had an open debate. The people's voices from around the country were heard, and we reacted to that in a positive way. I say that because it proves what can happen in the House. The House leadership has made clear they don't want to bring up this matter. They certainly don't want to pass this bill into law. But we can change that, even more than that, the American people can change that and call their House Members and demand that the leadership have a fair vote and pass this into law.
I thank Senator Reid for changing his language from last week and adopting mine so there would be no further automatic pay raises in the near future, if this bill is adopted. Under his standalone bill filed last week, there would have been at least one more autopilot automatic pay raise to go into effect. Under my original language, which he adopted in this latest version which just passed through the Senate by unanimous consent, that is not the case. It would change the autopilot automatic pay raise system immediately. That was an important and necessary correction on his part. I thank him for making that correction.
We are on a bipartisan roll. Let's keep it up. Let's bring that spirit, that public debate, let's bring that public pressure to the House of Representatives. When the people are involved and when their voice is heard, it is amazing what can change around here and what can get done.
I yield the floor.
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