Democrats to forgo cost of living raise

Written by: Super Admin
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Washington, Feb. 11 (ANI): Keeping in view the current economic crisis, Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed Democrats in a closed-door meeting that members will forgo their cost-of-living increases for the coming year.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who usually advocates for congressional pay raises, told reporters that it would "not be appropriate" for members of Congress to accept a salary increase this year.

The leadership's move comes after President Barack Obama decided to freeze the salaries of top White House aides, Politico reports.

Already, 107 House members have signed on to co-sponsor bills that would block the 2010 raise.

Party leaders discussed the possibility of skipping the annual salary increase earlier this year, but Tuesday's announcement marks their first official embrace of those requests.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner supported the move.

"We all know that American families are hurting, and we support forgoing a congressional pay raise. It is the reasonable thing to do," Boehner' spokesman Michael Steel said.

Members of Congress will earn an annual salary of 174,000 dollars in 2009. House Speaker Pelosi will get 223,500 dollars this year, while Hoyer, Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will earn 193,400 dollars each.

Congress established an automatic pay raise in 1989 as part of the annual spending process.

Forgoing the automatic raise isn't the only step Pelosi is taking. She had also asked House committee's chairmen to hold hearings on how federal funds are being spent - one of Obama's priorities.

"We'll be looking at everything from entitlements to defense spending, student loans to every dollar that the federal government spends," she had said earlier. (ANI)

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