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Union Leader - Ayotte to file bill to block pay hikes for Congress

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By Ted Siefer

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she will file legislation at the start of the next congressional session that will block pay raises for Congress and other high-ranking government officials.

"With our country $16 trillion in debt and every American facing a tax increase, it's astounding that the president would approve a pay raise for Congress and others serving at the highest levels of government," said Sen. Ayotte in a statement Monday.

The 0.5 percent pay increase for members of Congress is set to take effect March 27, after President Obama signed the executive order last week. It would bump the congressional salary to nearly $175,000 from $174,000.

The order also applies to top-level government employees, including Supreme Court justices and the vice president, who would see his salary rise by about $6,000 to $231,900..

Ayotte joins other senators and congressmen who have criticized the pay raise since the president signed the order.

"Given the dysfunction we've seen in Washington with the fiscal cliff, the last thing we should do is give bigger paychecks to members of Congress and top federal officials," Ayotte said in the statement.

Other members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation did not immediately provide responses to the proposal.

Obama ordered a two-year pay freeze for federal workers in Dec. 2010 and Congress hasn't had a pay increase since 2009.

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