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What Every American Should Know: Congressional Reform Act of 2017

What Every American Should Know: Congressional Reform Act of 2017

Being a lawmakers, or members of Congress including a variety of perks and benefits. 

The salary-based benefits in place for a member of Congress are superior to the average American workplace.

The Federal Employees Retirement Program provides individual pension plans to members of Congress. Depending on the member’s age, salary, and number of years in service, the pension benefit can be up to 80% the member’s final salary.

Based on 2017 Congressional pay of $174,000 per year, an 80% pension grants members a lifelong pension benefit of $139,200. This places members ahead of a majority of Americans, for whom the 2017 median household income was $61,372. I do this at the 2017 rate as the rates for other years are not available.

If a member of Congress dies while in office, their family will receive a payout of $174,000, or a year’s salary. By comparison, families of military personnel killed in action receive $100,000.

A Members’ Representational Allowance provides each member with money for official expenses including personnel, officials mailings, and office furnishings. In 2017, the allowance granted each member $944,671.

For 90 days after they leave office, members have access to “franking” mail, or sending official mail to their constituents.

Congressional benefits follow members off Capitol Hill as well, including free, reserved parking spots at Washington DC-area airports.

Members of Congress are able to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the flight they take. Major airlines also have a dedicated Congressional call desk to sort out any issues. Who is paying for this perk?

The Senate Hair Care Services has been in operation since the early 19th Century, providing a variety of grooming services including haircuts and manicures. Though it’s open to the public, key lawmakers get appointment priority, even over newer members.

Members of Congress can also enjoy a number of lifetime perks after they retire.

Afte retirement, former members have the option to obtain alumni identification and join the US Association of Former Members of Congress to remain close to their former colleagues.

Former members can still enjoy on-site amenities including the House and Senate dining rooms and the gym, which requires a fee to use after retirement.

Former senators can still buy from the Senate Stationery Room, which carries many supplies and furnishings, and borrow exclusive materials from the Library of Congress.

Former lawmakers also have continued access to the floor of the chamber where they served as long as they have not become an “agent of foreign principal,” or employed to influence legislation.

This should make your blood boil during this time of COVID. Every American should send to their Congresspeople and senators!

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office and NO MORE PERKS.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. In other words no insider trading.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. This means NO PORK!

Congress made all these contracts by and for themselves. Serving in Congress should be a privilege not a lifetime career. Our founding father expected this men and now women to serve their term and go home and go back to their regular jobs.

Family

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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