No show? Congress doesn’t get paid.

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.

Congressman and Dr. Charles Boustany

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.)

On Tuesday, in a statement concerning HR 6085 Boustany said:

“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.

~Eowyn

11 responses to “No show? Congress doesn’t get paid.

  1. …and they should live under the laws and programs they pass.

  2. Welcome to the real world!

  3. “Serving as a Member of Congress is not a part-time job…”

    But it should be.

    -Dave

  4. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this refreshing post! I agree, Louisiana is certainly blessed to have a man with guts tender this bill! It makes perfect sense!

  5. So if a monstrosity like Obamacare can pass after all the deals and arm twisting, lets get busy twisting arms…and testicles perhaps??

  6. How about docking them for voting present like our “Dear Leader” did for his time in the Senate. That’s almost worse to me!

  7. I’d take it a step further. The hours/days a sitting president, vice president, cabinet officials and White House staffers spend campaigning should be deducted from the salaries. Why should tax payers foot the bill?

  8. edward oleander

    Capitol Hill is an ivory tower… The inmates have to spend *some* time back among us voters, and not all votes affect all people.

    I’m no expert, but I’ll bet there is someone who could figure out some good, objective criteria for an “excused absence.” To be at all realistic, it would have to include some time for incumbents of any stripe to campaign, (although some term limits would help THAT a lot)…

    As for voting… This is the electronic age. There has to be some way for members to vote when not physically present. A small number of those votes could be allowed if the member was out of Washington on *official* business.

    I’m with sparrow on the “present” vote. Abstaining is way too abused and shouldn’t be an option for our elected leaders. We pay them to LEAD, and leading means ALWAYS giving a yes or a no. A leader says “Charge!” or a leader yells, “Retreat!” Standing silent does nothing but make you a target.
    ~ed

  9. Jesse Jackson’s mother said her son is suffering from disappointment. Disappointment he didn’t get Obama’s Senate seat or get to run for Mayor of Chicago. She asked people to pray for her son. I think Mrs. Jackson should ask the Duke LaCrosse players’ mothers to pray for her son. They know what disappointment is when a race baiting, lying, adulterous scum bag tries to destroy their innocent sons lives. I hope Jesse Jackson Jr. gets exactly what his daddy hoped would happen to these innocent boys. Jesse Jr. is feeling the heat from the feds for trying to buy Obama’s Senate seat. He’s lying in a fetal position somewhere hoping the sins of his father aren’t visited on the son.

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