If you or I don’t show up for work without a legitimate reason, such as illness, we don’t get paid. If we persist in that behavior, we get fired.
So why should a certain class of workers in America be exempt from that?
But that’s exactly what members of Congress get away with. The ongoing situation with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s (D-Illinois) long absence from Congress is a reminder. Congress’ main job is to legislate, but on average, only 120 members show up to vote on a bill in the House of Representatives.
On the Mike Huckabee radio show this morning, I heard a Congressman named Charles W. Boustany (R-Louisiana) speak on a proposed bill, HR 6085, which he introduced on July 9. Boustany is a medical doctor who was a heart surgeon before he was elected in 2004 to represent Louisiana’s 7th Congressional District.
HR 6085, the “No Show, No Pay” Act, will dock pay from members of Congress who don’t show up for work and thus miss votes. In missing one single vote the member would have to forfeit the day’s pay. According to the days worked from 2002 to the present, members of Congress stand to lose in excess of $1000 per day that they miss votes on. Most members of Congress receive a salary of $174,000. (Click here to read the bill.)
“Serving as a Member of Congress is not a part-time job. The primary duty of a Member of Congress is to advocate on behalf of its constituency by casting important votes. Some of my colleagues take their office for granted and refuse to accept this responsibility. They habitually miss important votes on key policy initiatives and legislation by leaving early or arriving late in order to attend fundraising and campaign events.
This bill discourages these offenders from dodging their Constitutional duty by holding them accountable to their constituency. Under my bill, a Member missing a single vote would not receive pay for that entire day. The legislation improves transparency and accountability by requiring the House to provide an online list of Members who are absent each month, including cumulative deductions for absences of each Member posted online as well.
As representatives in Washington, we must remember to serve as the voice of the people. I am honored to be trusted with this responsibility and look forward to representing the people of South Louisiana for years to come.”
Unfortunately, govtrack.us gives the bill a 2% chance of being enacted! — despite the fact that Congressman Boustany is a member of the majority party. That’s because just 4% of all House bills in 2009–2010 were enacted.
Click here for Congressman Boustany’s website.