U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today introduced the Pay Cut for Congress Act that would cut his pay and that of all members of Congress by 20 percent.

"Congress failed to address sequestration, which threatens Border Patrol agents with salary cuts of up to 40 percent," Barber said today. "It is only right that those of us in Congress share the pain of those agents, defense civilian employees and other federal employees who have been hit in their wallets because of Congress' failure to act."

Barber was a strident critic of sequestration, the irresponsible, across-the-board budget cuts mandated when Congress failed to reach agreement on a plan to reduce the debt and deficit.

Sequestration led the Department of Homeland Security to announce furloughs for Border Patrol agents one day every two weeks and steep reductions in overtime. Taken together, that would cut the pay of agents on the Southwestern border by up to 40 percent.

Barber subsequently supported a stopgap spending bill that led DHS to delay the furloughs and overtime reduction while re-evaluating its budget options. Barber has called on DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to drop consideration of pay and overtime cuts for Border Patrol agents.

Although Barber cited sequestration as the most recent example of Congress' inability to tackle significant issues, he also said his colleagues have failed to pass a bipartisan budget plan, failed to reduce the debt and deficit and failed to reform the U.S. Postal Service.

This is not the first time that Barber has expressed frustration at the pace of work in Congress. Several times he has opposed House adjournment to force members to stay in Washington to get work done.

In February, just days before sequestration went into effect, he voted against adjournment, saying: "We owe our communities a budget - one that balances new revenues, eliminates duplication and eliminates ineffective programs and allows vital services to continue. We should not recess tomorrow. We should stay here and do our jobs."

(1) comment

John Flanagan

A little grandstanding, wouldn't you agree? Democrats and Republicans alike will never see a 20 percent cut.
If Mr Barber would like to get serious about cutting costs, we might start with a reduction in executive spending, non-Congressional in nature. For example, we might cut Michelle Obama's many trips and taxpayer funded vacations, which always include an extended entourage of family and friends, with the additional security costs involved.
We might cut back on White House parties and entertainment. We might look for more pork in the existing budget, rewards for political friends and various lobby groups. We might cut government support of the abortion industry, foreign aid to build bridges in Iraq while neglecting the rebuilding of Staten Island.
Oh, had the Democrats been better stewards of our tax money while they are in charge, perhaps this current mess would have been averted. Had Obama and the Democrats been more honest with the American people about the huge cost of Obamacare, the bail outs, the defunct green energy bamboozle, we might have some money to pay our representatives and this 20 percent idea would not have surfaced.

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