Archive for the ‘ Office of Management and Budget ’ Category

U.S. Congress Salaries…

Rank-and-File Members:
The current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.

  • Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so.
  • In a complex system of calculations, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, congressional pay rates also affect the salaries for federal judges and other senior government executives.
  • During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Other Founding Fathers, however, decided otherwise.
  • From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.

Congress: Leadership Members’ Salary (2011)
Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members.

Senate Leadership
Majority Party Leader – $193,400
Minority Party Leader – $193,400

House Leadership
Speaker of the House – $223,500
Majority Leader – $193,400
Minority Leader – $193,400

A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.

Benefits Paid to Members of Congress

You may have read that Members of Congress do not pay into Social Security. Well, that’s a myth.

Prior to 1984, neither Members of Congress nor any other federal civil service employee paid Social Security taxes. Of course, they were also not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because the CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986.

Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.

Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System(FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System(CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.

As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes.

Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.

The amount of a congressperson’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

According to the Congressional Research Service, 413 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.

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Dems Growing Convinced That GOP Will Try To Force Shutdown Over Health Care Funds

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats expressed a rare touch of nonchalance Wednesday as House Republicans voted to repeal last year’s health care overhaul, since the repeal has little chance of passing the Senate. Behind the scenes, however, fears are mounting over what appears to be a more serious threat.

Democratic lawmakers tell The Huffington Post that they increasingly expect Republicans to try and freeze funding for the health care law. Such an attempt would face the same institutional hurdles as a straight repeal vote: a non-compliant Senate and a president wielding a veto pen. But whereas the repeal bill’s death would mean — in practical political terms — absolutely nothing, the inability to pass an appropriations bill could have far-reaching effects.

“They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday. “Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling … If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave … they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year.”

“I am real concerned,” Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said. “We do operate on yearly budgets that could exact great harm if they are dedicated to that proposition. You still have to work with the Senate. So what happens when you reach that kind of impasse? We have this gridlock … There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican leadership … has already charted a course. They are very disciplined and very good at what they do.”

“This is only the beginning,” Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said. “I’m also fearful that they are going to try and eviscerate the legislation by denying it funding [and] by harassing the administration.”

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Stopping funding for Health Care would be the nail in the coffin for those supporting this effort to deny the poor while rewarding the rich and big business.

Dems Growing Convinced That GOP Will Try To Force Shutdown Over Health Care Funds.

The Negative Consequences of Government Expenditure | Mercatus

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The Negative Consequences of Government Expenditure

Jeffrey Miron | Nov 09, 2010

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The U.S. national debt currently stands at 62 percent of GDP—its highest level since WWII. Under plausible assumptions, this ratio will rise to at least 80 percent and possibly 185 percent of GDP by 2035 and continue increasing thereafter. As the debt ratio increases, the country’s creditors will demand higher and higher interest rates to continue financing this debt. This means even larger deficits and ultimately a U.S. default.

Both macroeconomic and microeconomic perspectives suggest that tax increases cannot address the debt problem because higher taxes mean slower economic growth, reducing the scope for increased tax revenue. If tax increases cannot restore fiscal balance, the United States must slow the path of expenditure, starting with reforming entitlement spending, to avoid fiscal Armageddon. Expenditure cuts can simultaneously improve fiscal balance while enhancing economic growth.

JEFFREY MIRON

Jeffrey A. Miron is Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Miron has previously served on the faculties of the University of Michigan and Boston University; at the latter, he was Department chairman for six years. He has been the recipient of an Olin Fellowship from the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Earhart Foundation Fellowship, and a Sloan Foundation Faculty Research Fellowship. Miron holds a B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T.

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via The Negative Consequences of Government Expenditure | Mercatus.

Search | The White House

Introducing the 2011 Budget

Posted on February 01, 2010 at 10:00 AM EST

Type: Office of Management and Budget, Blog Post

and extraordinary steps to prevent a complete economic collapse that would have caused millions more to lose their jobs. Not all of the efforts we undertook to avoid a deeper recession were popular.   Nonetheless the President did what was right for our country … . To sustain job creation and economic growth into the years ahead and provide room for the private sector to expand, we are also making tough choices in the Budget: cutting what doesn’t work or isn’t necessary and investing in what will help to expand … fiscal responsibility. Because of the irresponsibility of the past decade, we’ve seen a projected 10-year surplus of over $5 trillion at the end of the Clinton administration turn into a projected 10-year deficit of over $8 trillion the day President …

via http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/blog/10/02/01/Introducing-the-2011-Budget