- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2015

It is part of reforming the nation’s capital, says Rep. Ron DeSantis. The Florida Republican has introduced the “End Pensions in Congress Act,” legislation that would end pensions for all future lawmakers and those not yet vested into the congressional retirement plan.

“The Founding Fathers envisioned elected officials as part of a servant class, yet Washington has evolved into a ruling class culture,” says Mr. DeSantis. “Pensions for members of Congress represent an inappropriate use of taxpayer money, especially when the idea of a pension in the private sector is fast becoming a relic from a bygone era.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, lawmakers are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they’ve completed at least five years of service, or at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service not to exceed 80 percent of their final salaries, which currently stand at $117,000 a year.

Currently, 617 retired members receive federal pensions with average payments of anywhere from $42,048 to $$71,664 a year, depending on their retirement plan. Reps. Rod Blum of Iowa, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin are original co-sponsors.

“If congressmen want to save for retirement, they should do so with 401k-type plans, rather than rely on taxpayers to take care of them even after leaving Congress. To tackle out-of-control federal spending, Congress must lead by example,” observes Mr. Massie.

“I have said many, many times that members of Congress should be treated more like ordinary American workers when it comes to compensation - and very few people these days get a pension,” says Mr. Mulvaney.

And from Mr. Ribble: “Our political system was designed for Americans to be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians. In a time when pensions are no longer available to the vast majority of people working in the private sector, it is wrong to ask taxpayers to subsidize this benefit for politicians.”

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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