As a push among members of Congress to give themselves a raise hangs in the balance, a freshman lawmaker from Tennessee wants to slash their pay each year they fail to pass a budget.
“I didn’t come up here to get rich,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tennessee).
Freshman Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett— a self-described fiscal conservative and borderline Libertarian— doesn’t want a raise, unlike some of his other colleagues in the House.
Self-proclaimed democratic socialist, freshman New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for a plan to increase Congress’ current $174,000 a year salary.
“That’s ridiculous. That’s not going anywhere,” said Burchett.
Burchett thinks members of Congress should instead get a pay cut for not doing their jobs. His legislation would cut lawmakers’ pay each year that they fail to pass a budget.
“Am I doing it just as a messaging bill? No. I’m dead serious about it. I’ll vote for it.”
Congress faces an October 1st deadline every year to pass a spending package to fund the government.
Members haven’t received a raise in ten years, but they haven’t passed a budget in 20.
“You can’t run a temple, you can’t run a church, you can’t run a charitable organization, you can’t run a business and you sure as heck can’t run a family without a budget,” said Burchett. “Everybody’s running around wanting to impeach the president or do this or do that on all these other issues because they don’t want to make the tough decisions. Dagummit, that’s what I got elected on. I’d like to see us attempt to accomplish some of those.”
He argues Congress should follow the example of his home state of Tennessee, which requires a balanced budget every year.