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Democrats to delay pay increase to Congress, Senate, Cheney

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Brian Beutler
Published: Friday December 8, 2006

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House Democrats will bring a minimum wage increase bill before the floor at the start of the 110th congress that will block pay increases for themselves--and Vice President Dick Cheney--RAW STORY has learned.

It is expected to become law barring presidential veto.

The bill is planned as part of a series of legislative steps taken by the House leadership to fulfill a promise to block congressional cost of living adjustments until the minimum wage has been increased. The minimum wage has not been raised since an increase signed by President Bill Clinton took effect on September 1, 1997.

To do this, Democrats have placed a resolution into the continuing appropriations bill—to be debated in session tonight—that synchronizes the scheduled salary increase of $3,300 per year for congresspeople and senators with all other federal government funding, which will be appropriated in February, after the Democrats have been in the majority for over a month.

The relevant section of the bill notes that, notwithstanding any future or past legislative maneuvers, “the percentage adjustment scheduled to take effect...shall not take effect until February 16, 2007.” After that point, Democrats say, since the minimum wage will have been increased, cost of living adjustments will be issued

As is the case for legislative amendments, Republicans, who through today control the House of Representatives, could have eliminated this provision. But Democratic sources say the whole process happened quietly.

"They didn't want a floor vote," said a source with knowledge of the proceedings. "If they were still in charge they might have blocked it, but I think they wanted to finish session without another big loss."

"It is immoral," Brendan Daly, spokesman for speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, told RAW STORY, "that the minimum wage hasn't been raised for more than nine years, and until the American people get a raise, Members won't either. We look forward to increasing the minimum wage in our first hundred hours."

If the continuing resolution is not passed in the house tonight, the federal government will not be funded for the coming fiscal year. Among those impacted when the bill passes will be Vice President Dick Cheney, who technically serves as an employee of the Senate.

Calls and queries to Republican leadership were not immediately returned.