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Senators vote to give themselves their fifth automatic pay raise in as many years, despite the $480-billion deficit.

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Roll Call: Senators Give Selves Automatic Pay Increase

Senators vote to give themselves their fifth automatic pay raise in as many years, despite the $480-billion deficit.

On October 23, by a vote of 60 to 34, the Senate tabled (killed) an amendment sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-Wis.) that would have prevented its members from receiving an automatic pay increase for the fifth year in a row.

Feingold’s efforts to prevent such an automatic pay hike were spotlighted by HUMAN EVENTS in the September 22 issue(page 3), which featured interviews with several senators on whether they would help block such a pay hike in light of Congress’s inability to balance the budget.

Feingold, a left-wing liberal who occasionally sides with conservatives on good-government and fiscal issues, explained his amendment on the Senate floor:

“It would simply eliminate the roughly $3,400 pay raise for members of Congress that is scheduled to go into effect next January,” he said. “Put simply, this is the wrong time for Congress to give itself a pay hike. Our economy is still recovering from the recent slowdown. The financial markets have been rocked, wiping out a large portion of the life savings and retirement accounts of many families. Thousands of workers were laid off and have not returned to work, and families face increasing financial pressures. After finally balancing our budget, we are now facing record annual deficits. . .For the current fiscal year, CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] projects a unified budget deficit of $480 billion. Without counting Social Security, the deficit is projected to be $636 billion. Those figures do not include, of course, the $87 billion in additional funding the President has requested for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Although no one spoke against the amendment on the floor, it was easily tabled anyway, with bipartisan support.

A “yes” vote was a vote to table (kill) the Feingold amendment and was, in effect, a vote by senators to give themselves a pay increase. A “no” vote against tabling was, in effect, a vote against the automatic pay increase.

FOR THE MOTION TO TABLE: 60 AGAINST THE MOTION TO TABLE: 34
REPUBLICANS FOR (29):
Alexander
Allen
Bennett
Bond
Burns
Chafee
Cochran
Coleman
Cornyn
Craig
Crapo
Frist
Gregg
Hagel
Hatch
Inhofe
Kyl
Lott
Lugar
McConnell
Nickles
Roberts
Santorum
Shelby
Smith
Stevens
Sununu
Voinovich
Warner

DEMOCRATS FOR (30):
Akaka
Biden
Bingaman
Breaux
Byrd
Cantwell
Carper
Conrad
Corzine
Daschle
Dodd
Dorgan
Durbin
Feinstein
Graham (Fla.)
Harkin
Hollings
Inouye
Kennedy
Kohl
Landrieu
Lautenberg
Levin
Lieberman
Mikulski
Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor
Reed (R.I.)
Reid (Nev.)
Sarbanes

INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
Jeffords

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (19):
Allard
Brownback
Bunning
Campbell
Chambliss
Collins
DeWine
Dole
Enzi
Fitzgerald
Graham (S.C.)
Grassley
Hutchison
McCain
Sessions
Snowe
Specter
Talent
Thomas

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (15):
Baucus
Bayh
Clinton
Dayton
Feingold
Johnson
Leahy
Lincoln
Miller
Murray
Nelson
Rockefeller
Schumer
Stabenow
Wyden

NOT VOTING: 6

REPUBLICANS (3): DEMOCRATS (3):
Domenici
Ensign
Murkowski
Boxer
Edwards
Kerry
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