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Flores Introduces 'Reconnecting Congress with America' Act

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Washington, DC, December 6, 2011 | comments
Adjusting Congressional Pay to Fit Private Sector Response to Economic Difficulties
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Adjusting Congressional Pay to Fit Private Sector Response to Economic Difficulties

Today, U.S. Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 3565, the Reconnecting Congress with America Act (RCWA), legislation that ties Congressional salaries to the Federal budget deficit and repeals the automatic Congressional pay adjustment. Additionally, RCWA reforms Congressional benefits by increasing Member contributions to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), helping to reduce deficits. Provisions to prohibit commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information for both Members and employees of Congress, as well as employees of Executive branch agencies are also incorporated into this legislation. And finally, RCWA includes a sense of Congress that House Members and Senators live by the laws they enact. Flores released the following statement today upon introduction of the Reconnecting Congress with America Act:

“When I ran for Congress last year, it became apparent that many Americans believe their elected representatives have become a ruling class of elites that does not feel the personal impact of the legislation they pass. The Reconnecting Congress with America Act will instill a culture of servant leadership to replace Congress’s current ruling class mindset and restore accountability to our broken system in Washington. RCWA is part of a package of Congressional reforms that will help to reconnect Members of Congress with Main Street America.

“RCWA conforms Congressional pay to private sector responses arising from our country’s current economic situation. RCWA ties Member salary to the Federal budget deficit. If the Federal deficit is equal to or greater than 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), then Members’ base salary would be cut by 20 percent. If the Federal deficit is less than 3 percent, Members’ base salary would be cut by 10 percent. In a case of no Federal deficit, or if a surplus were to exist, Members would receive 100 percent of their base salary. In addition, RCWA eliminates Congressional automatic cost of living (COLA) pay increases and would require Members of Congress to hold a transparent vote on any pay increase.These changes in Congressional pay will make Congress more in touch with the economic situation that American private sector employees feel every day. RCWA also includes provisions for Congress to live under the legislation that it passes, particularly with regard to insider trading.

“It isn’t too late to reconnect Congress with America and demonstrate to our constituents that we as Members of Congress are willing to be held accountable and more closely align our compensation and benefits with private sector practices.”

BACKGROUND: The Reconnecting Congress with America Act is part of a package of simple yet meaningful Congressional reforms that Congressman Flores has introduced, along with other colleagues, to overhaul our system of governing, restore confidence in Congress and reconnect Congress with the American people. The initiative addresses the following issues: (1) term limits, (2) Congressional pay, (3) Congressional benefits and (4) living under the laws enacted by Congress.

For more information on the Reconnecting Congress with America Act, click here.

Congressman Bill Flores represents the 17th District of Texas and is an entrepreneur, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and member of the House Budget, Natural Resources and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

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