Congressional Pay Raises Are Unconstitutional

Congress is full of liars and thieves. The letter below was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post on January 1, 2002.
— 01/01/02


Georgia U.S. Congressional Representatives and Senators just received their fourth pay raise in five years. This latest raise was for $4,900. I’m not opposed to raising Congressional pay. I am opposed to the way they allowed it to happen.

Using a 1989 law, Congress receives an automatic raise each year — unless they vote to block it. This sleight of hand runs contrary to the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 27th Amendment was written in 1789 and finally ratified in 1992. (not a typo – this Amendment set the record for length of ratification) This amendment forbids Congress from raising its pay in mid-term. Get elected to the next term, and you get your raise.

Our leaders swore to uphold the Constitution. Putting your hand on a bible and swearing to God, used to mean something. Not today, and certainly not with the current group of American political leaders.

I am asking all Georgia voters to please help me enforce the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of the political party, we need leaders that tell the truth and don’t make promises they cannot keep. Help me send these folks home. Perhaps their friends and family will continue to believe what they say; you and I cannot.


According to this government report:

The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 changed the method by which the annual adjustment is determined for Members and other senior officials. This procedure employs a formula based on changes in private sector wages and salaries as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI). The annual adjustment automatically goes into effect unless

1. Congress statutorily prohibits the adjustment;

2. Congress statutorily revises the adjustment; or

3. The annual base pay adjustment of GS employees is established at a rate less than the scheduled adjustment for Members, in which case Members would be paid the lower rate.

Under this revised method, annual adjustments were accepted 13 times (those scheduled for January 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009) and denied 12 times (those scheduled for January 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015).