- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 23, 2011


At no other time in our country’s history has the need for Congress to work together to reduce the size and cost of government been more imperative.

We are drowning in an avalanche of debt and Congress has an important decision to make. Will we continue to let Washington ignore our serious fiscal problems? Or will we make the hard choices necessary to fulfill our obligation to our children and grandchildren?

American families are adapting to these challenging economic times by tightening their belts and learning to do more with less. They have the right to expect their government to do the same.

In January, the House of Representatives took an important step by reducing our congressional office budgets by 5 percent and returning them to 2008 levels.

Today, we can send another powerful message to the American people by reducing our own salaries by 5 percent.

Earlier this year our colleague, and friend, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, introduced bipartisan legislation to do just that. The Congressional Pay Cut Act, H.R. 204, would impose an across-the-board 5 percent pay cut on all members of Congress‘ salaries.

While introducing the bill, she explained, “Members of Congress can’t ask any American to cut back before we are willing to make some sacrifices of our own. I’m prepared to do that and I want my colleagues to join me.”

We could not agree more.

As members of Congress, we have the unique opportunity to lead with principled measures to protect taxpayers, create jobs and demonstrate we are taking our trust from the American people seriously.

While cutting our own salaries is only a drop in the bucket, it is a good first step to addressing our overall fiscal crisis and it sends an important message to American families.

The American people are looking for bold action to reduce spending. They want to see members of both parties show a renewed commitment to cutting spending in every corner of the government, including our own.

As representatives from different parties we invite our colleagues to join us in this effort to honor the leadership of our colleague and show that we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order.

Rep. David Schweikert is a Republican from Arizona and Rep. Kurt Schrader is a Democrat from Oregon.

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