Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Don't Worry, Congress Won't Face Pay Cuts in Sequestration
Monday, September 17, 2012
Members of Congress won't see their paychecks shrink after massive scheduled spending cuts go into effect in 2013, but the police on Capitol Hill will.
On Friday afternoon the White House released its most detailed report on the sequestration agreed upon as part of last summer's debt ceiling compromise. Under the deal, if Congress fails to agree on and enact $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, it would trigger an automatic across-the-board reduction in spending starting January 2013.
Not everything in the government's budget is sequestrable, though. Compensation for members of the House and Senate as well as federal judges aren't heading toward the same "fiscal cliff" as their personnel and employees.
Elected officials won't feel the squeeze because one Congress can't pass a law that affects the pay of a future Congress. Compensation for members of the House and Senate had to be exempt from sequestration agreed upon in 2011 and scheduled to take place in 2013, else the legislation would have violated the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ratified 1992).
The budgets for Capitol police and court security, meanwhile, each face an 8.2 percent cut. At nearly every government office, salaries for employees will be cut while those for elected officials will be protected.
Yet another perk to kicking the can down the road.