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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Still a good idea even as a political stunt

--posted by Tony Garcia on 5/13/2006

I saw this story and thought, "What a great idea! I wish it would become a law." In fact, I think it is such a great idea that I added points to the candidate's score (+1...would have been more except I think it is just a campaign tactic).
U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy announced Friday he would not accept his congressional pay on days that he's forced to miss votes in Washington, D.C., because of his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

"I think it is only appropriate that if I'm not in Washington for a vote due to a campaign commitment, I will not accept pay for that day," Kennedy, the Republican candidate, said in a press release.

Kennedy was one of only nine members of the House of Representatives to not miss any congressional votes in 2005. But he said the demands of the Senate race could force a few missed votes this year.

Rank and file members of the U.S. House and Senate currently earn $165,000 a year, which would work out to roughly $450 for a day of missed pay.
OK, so it is a token $450, but if enough votes are missed because of heavy campaigning it might add up to, well, still a token. I think the BEST solution is on days of a campaign appearance Congressmen and Senators would sacrifice their pay...or for attending partisan events (i.e. rallies, fundraisers, conventions, etc) because those are not about being in Congress but about being in their party.

Regardless, while it is a token pay cut (I would put the over/under at about 10 days of actual votes being missed) it is a good idea that may hopefully catch wind and become a law! (Hoping, hoping, hoping...)

The only part of reality that I did not like was that, at least through the way the article was written, this was more of a campaign stunt than much else.
Kennedy challenged his most likely Democratic opponent, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, to do the same and return her salary on days when she's on the campaign trail instead of at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Klobuchar's campaign manager, Ben Goldfarb, criticized Kennedy's move as a "phony gimmick," and said the campaign wouldn't respond further. He did say Klobuchar continues to draw her full salary.

Kennedy and Klobuchar are both vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton. Klobuchar is facing a challenge for the endorsement from Ford Bell, a veterinarian who does not currently draw a government paycheck.
This 'challenge' is setting up an unfair comparison. For Kennedy he would miss pay for missing votes...not for days when he's on the campaign trail instead of at the US Capitol. For it to be a genuine challenge it would have to be that he gets docked for days not in the Capitol OR she gets docked for actual court dates missed.

The other issue I have with this is a similar stance was not taken in previous elections...which again provides a little insight into this being more a campaign tactic than actual fiscal concern.

Nonetheless, it is an idea that I hope gets codified sometime.

Will someone ask Mark Kennedy if he will propose something similar and substantial in Congress BEFORE the election.


Blogger Marty said...

Funny, I would pay about 90% of those people double their daily salaries to always stay away from Washington.

May 13, 2006  

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