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John Boehner Will Go Down As One of the Worst House Speakers in History

boehner_gavelI have no doubts that history will reflect on John Boehner as one of the worst Speakers of the House in United States history.  Now, I don’t like using the phrase “worst ever” because we’ve had some really terrible politicians in our history—but he’s without a doubt one of the very worst.

The approval rating for Congress can’t go much lower.  If you haven’t heard, a poll was recently released that showed just 6% of Americans think Congress is doing an “excellent” or “good” job.

Think about that for a moment—an approval rating of 6%!  Toe fungus probably has a more favorable rating than Congress at this point.

And at the forefront of this embarrassment we call our Congress is Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Not only has Boehner failed to accomplish much of anything while he’s been in power, many within his own party don’t respect him.  Even when he offered a “Plan B” deal to avoid the “Fiscal Cliff” earlier this year, he had to pull the legislation because he couldn’t get it to pass the Republican-controlled House.

He’s failed to even control the fringe right-wing members of his party in the House of Representatives, often letting the clowns run the circus.

Tell me, what has he done?

Can we count the 37 votes to unsuccessfully repeal “Obamacare?”  I mean, that’s something, right?

People can’t say he’s been big on jobs, because the House hasn’t passed a single meaningful jobs bill.  And passing bills that call for more of the same failed policies we had under Bush isn’t “passing a jobs bill”—it’s playing politics and pandering to your base.

Then there was the whole “immediate debt crisis” he harped on for over 4 years–-until he admitted recently that there isn’t an immediate debt crisis.

And if we haven’t had an immediate debt crisis for the last 4 years, just why the hell has he been lying to the American people saying we do?  Isn’t that why Republicans claimed we had to cut tens of thousands of government jobs?  Because we had to “tackle the immediate debt crisis?”

So what Boehner essentially admitted a couple of months ago is that thousands of people lost their jobs based on a lie.

We also can’t forget that as the Tea Party started gaining power, Boehner was a leading supporter of the mechanism which is now tearing his party apart.  As a senior leader of his party, he sold the future of the GOP out for a temporary spike in popularity in 2010.  Sure they captured the House during those midterm elections, but that’s not why the Tea Party was created.  The Tea Party’s main purpose was defeating Obama in 2012.

And as we all know, they failed miserably at doing that.

He had to know then, this level of crazy being given influence in his party would ultimately backfire.  But Boehner lacks spine, foresight and the courage to be a true leader.  Instead of standing against the tidal wave of insanity, he embraced it.

I shouldn’t really used the past tense “embraced,” because he still continues to pander to the far-right extreme members of the House.

Then let’s not forget Benghazi.  Boehner has been one of the most vocal Republicans in trying to create some fake conspiracy to either bring down President Obama, or set up an attack plan against Hillary Clinton in 2016.  But the more Republicans push this issue that most Americans don’t care about, the more President Obama’s approval rating has actually risen.

All of these items are added to the list that already includes failure after failure in trying to stage political stunts that end up making Republicans, not President Obama, look foolish.

From the debt ceiling debacle, the GOP attempts to double student loan interest rates, the fiscal cliff fiasco and Republicans threatening to raise taxes on 98% of Americans to keep tax breaks for the top 2% (and numerous other instances)—Republicans have come out on the other side of each issue looking like the ones causing the problems, without offering any real solutions.

We’ve seen some dysfunctional government at times in this country, but I can’t think of many times we’ve seen such failed leadership as we’ve had with the House of Representatives since Boehner became Speaker of the House.

But you don’t need to take my word for it, just ask Republicans—many of them seem to agree.

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Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column, and an unapologetic Hillary Clinton supporter. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

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  • TC

    Poor John.

  • srsmith

    All these bumbling idiots doing nothing for the American people are still getting their pay checks, vacations and retirement on our hard earned tax money. WHY CAN’T WE JUST FIRE A BUNCH OF THEM?

    • Siobhan Elizabeth

      We can. It’s called “voting them out of office!”

      • Brett Roelle

        problem is you have to move to their district to vote them out… and unfortunately, there’s a majority of idiots already there.

      • Siobhan Elizabeth

        Well, of course, the people who should vote politicians out of office are the people they represent, and no one else. Would you want folks who do not live in your Congressional District to be able to decide who your rep should be? I don’t. But, if you want to affect national change, beyond your own district, then you have to be active on IDEAS, to work to change the attitudes of the voting public at large, by writing letters to the editors of major papers like the NY Times, which is read all over the US, not just in NY. Or Parade Magazine, the most widely distributed publication in the US. Of volunteer for an organization that works on an issue important to you. If you don’t want to do any of that, then you have to be satisfied with affecting change in your own local area by voting out any “bumbling idiots” in your own district.

      • babyowl53

        Well, the reason others should be able to vote in some one elses district is when it is obvious that those people aren’t able to understand that people like boehner aren’t good for this country.

      • jessicaj

        HEY NOW. DO NOT BLAME ME FOR THIS FUCKERY LOL

      • CherMoe

        You hit the nail on the head. It’s the rural folks that vote these guys in and keep them in. They don’t have much else to do but farm or work their jobs and go to church. That’s why they can turn their back on the rest of the world. They don’t care about women having rights. They don’t care about smog (they’re out in the sticks). They aren’t as educated, in most cases. They’re poor, but still vote against their own best interests because of the way their votes are bought … through church, their preachers, the buzz words like abortion, entitlements, gays, guns. Republicans produce the fear card and they all file in to vote their religion.

      • Sean Gonzalez

        The truth you shared is bleak…true…sad. Seems overwhelming to fight that level of uneducated, brainwashed level of crazy when you draw the picture as clearly as you have.

        :(

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        The problem with that is, If they’ve been in Office for more than 5 years, we still end up paying them, By paying them 85% of their pay and Full Health and Security Benefits for LIFE, Plus their Wives or Husband gets 65% of their Wages as Death Benefits, when they Die!! Right now, it Cost the American Taxpayers Close to $8.2 Billion per year. and That’s the one’s NOT In Office any more. Or somewhere close to that Number. Been awhile since I read the Article, and did the additional math. But either way, unless we get them out of Office FAST, we’ll be paying all the TeaBaggers for the rest of their Natural lives.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        In 2010 and 2011, the average pay is $174,000. Leadership positions pay higher, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader making over $210,000 a year. These salary figures come out to $95.8 million dollars for all 541 members of Congress.

        There are six members of Congress who hold committee positions and can debate on the floor, but who do not have voting power. So for a Congress that doesn’t work, we’re paying out $95.8 million in salaries, and that’s before we get into benefits, perks and retirement wages.

        We’ve all heard about the CongressionalHealth Care plan, not to mention their travel plans, security details and personal spendingaccounts. How much do these benefits and perks cost taxpayers in addition to the above salaries?

        In Fiscal Year 2010 (Oct 1 through Sept 30 of the following year), these programs accounted for $4.66 Billion in taxpayer funds.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        I found the Article… LOL

      • ThatDCGuy

        Why does no one on this website source their arguments? Seriously This is the internet, I’m not going to take your word.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        So I just pulled all of that out of my ass huh?? Wow I must be a Genius then, TY.. As for why nobody provides sources, what difference would it make, if we did? Would you believe our Sources? I say No, because that is one of the problems with people, No matter what Evidence is provided, No matter what Historical Evidence is shown, If it goes against what is believed, to be the Truth, Nothing Else Matters Everyone else is wrong. Also As you said, This is the Internet, it is just as easy for you to do your own research, if you were serious about knowing the truth. I don’t expect anyone to take my word, But I bet you do..

      • ThatDCGuy

        Considering I worked on the Hill, know the health care benefits, know the pension… No… I may not believe your sources, but I would be more than happy to read them to see if they are compelling enough for me to question visceral information. I’ve done my own research, but again, as this is the internet, I could make anything true if I used sources from the internet. I want to see where YOU are coming from so that I can better judge your argument.

        You are quoting numbers. Common courtesy is if you are spouting opinion, you need not source, but if you are going to give me numbers in an argument, you should at least tell me their source, not simply state them as if you were the statistician that compiled them.

        I’m not saying you were wrong, but with the plethora of (pinatas) competing information out there, it is important to know where your data comes from if I am to form an opinion based on your argument. Otherwise, what is the point of even posting here?

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        So what you are saying, is that regardless the fact I told you to my source is the CBO, I didn’t provide you with the exact posting by the CBO, therefore my Argument is basically BS? Nice.. lol
        Ok so you work on the Hill. So Are you a Congressman or Senator? Because Those are the People I am are talking about, Not Civil Servicemen/Women. Not Lobbyist, etc. I am talking about those who HOLD Office, for a Minimum of 5 years. Not those who work for them. So unless you’re a Senator or Congressman how does you working there matter again?

      • ThatDCGuy

        Its really easy to link to a CBO study, friend. And Members have damn near the same pension & medical hill staffers have. So… I would really like to see you CBO source that backs up your claims. Its not a ridiculous request to see your study. I’m not saying its BS. I’m saying its not verified.

        staffer = Office and support staff of a Member. So yes, you are talking about me. The 5 years is vestment. Then the Pension starts paying percentages of salaries. Not 100%, nor do you qualify for full medical. So, until I see an actual source, don’t expect me to believe what you say or take it at face value because you cite an unnamed CBO study.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        I have TRIED to post my Links This site doesn’t Allow it. All I can do is tell you where to look, you have to do the rest of the work.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        U.S. Congress salaries and benefits have been the source of taxpayer unhappiness and myths over the years. Here are some facts for your consideration.

        Rank-and-File Members:
        The current salary (2013) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.

        Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so.

        In a complex system of calculations, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, congressional pay rates also affect the salaries for federal judges and other senior government executives.

        During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Other Founding Fathers, however, decided otherwise.

        From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.

        Congress: Leadership Members’ Salary (2013)
        Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members.

        Senate Leadership
        Majority Party Leader – $193,400
        Minority Party Leader – $193,400

        House Leadership
        Speaker of the House – $223,500
        Majority Leader – $193,400
        Minority Leader – $193,400

        A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.

        Benefits Paid to Members of Congress

        You may have read that Members of Congress do not pay into Social Security. Well, that’s a myth.

        Prior to 1984, neither Members of Congress nor any other federal civil service employee paid Social Security taxes. Of course, they were also not eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Members of Congress and other federal employees were instead covered by a separate pension plan called the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act required federal employees first hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. These amendments also required all Members of Congress to participate in Social Security as of January 1, 1984, regardless of when they first entered Congress. Because the CSRS was not designed to coordinate with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement plan for federal workers. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986.

        Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.

        Note: Starting in 2014, the only health care coverage made available to members of Congress and their employees by the federal government will be coverage offered through the Health Insurance Exchange created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – the “Obamacare Act.”

        Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System(FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System(CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.

        As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes.

        Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Members of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.

        The amount of a congressperson’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

        According to the Congressional Research Service, 413 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service as of Oct. 1, 2006. Of this number, 290 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $60,972. A total of 123 Members had retired with service under both CSRS and FERS or with service under FERS only. Their average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.

        Allowances

        Members of Congress are also provided with an annual allowance intended to defray expenses related carrying out their congressional duties, including “official office expenses, including staff, mail, travel between a Member’s district or state and Washington, DC, and other goods and services.” [Learn more...]

        Outside Income

        Many members of Congress retain their private careers and other business interests while they serve. Members are allowed to retain an amount of permissible “outside earned income” limited to no more than 15% of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule for federal employees, or $26,550 a year in 2013. However, there is currently no limit on the amount of non-salary income members can retain from their investments, corporate dividends or profits.

        House and Senate rules define what sources of “outside earned income” are permissible. For example, House Rule XXV (112th Congress) limits permissible outside income to “salaries, fees, and other amounts received or to be received as compensation for personal services actually rendered.” Members are not allowed to retain compensation arising from fiduciary relationships, except for medical practices. Members are also barred from accepting honoraria – payments for professional services typically provided without charge.

        Tax Deductions

        Members are allowed to deduct up to $3,000 a year from their federal income tax for living expenses while they are away from their home states or congressional districts.

      • ThatDCGuy

        You are aware that this directly contradicts what you stated in other posts, correct?

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Not really. It does, and I corrected my first post to reflect it. They don’t get Full Pay, it is only “80%” of the Most they made. Aside from that one point, everything else I said, is valid.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Do the MATH. Does the United States Top Government Officials, Retired and Not, cost the Taxpayers close to 5 Billion in OUR Tax Dollars a Year, to Sit on their Freaking Butts?? Yes THEY DO.

      • ThatDCGuy

        Ok. Just keep thinking that.

        :head–>desk:

        This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Speaker of the House $223,500 per annum

        Majority and Minority Leaders $193,400 per annum

        All other Representatives (including Delegates and Resident Commissioner From Puerto Rico) $174,000 per annum

        Chief Administrative Officer $172,500 per annum

        Clerk of the House $172,500 per annum

        Sergeant at Arms $172,500 per annum

        Chaplain $172,500 per annum

        Legislative Counsel $172,500 per annum

        Law Revision Counsel $172,500 per annum

        Parliamentarian $172,500 per annum

        Inspector General $172,500 per annum

        Director, Interparliamentary Affairs $172,500 per annum

        General Counsel to the House $172,500 per annum

        Source: For salaries of Members of Congress, U.S. President (Obama), “Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay,”

        Executive Order 13594, signed December 19, 2011, Federal Register, vol. 76, p. 80196; for salaries of officers and

        officials of the House, Order of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, implementing a pay increase for

        House employees, effective January 9, 2009, issued January 9, 2009 (contained in 2 U.S.C. 60a-2a). Estimates may

        also be obtained by examining the quarterly Statement of Disbursements of the House.

        Table 3. Members, Officers, and Officials of the Senate: Selected Salaries

        President pro tempore

        ($230,700 per annum if the position of Vice President is vacant) $193,400 per annum37

        Majority and Minority Leaders $193,400 per annum

        All other Senators $174,000 per annum

        Secretary of the Senate $172,500 per annum

        Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper $172,500 per annum

        Legislative Counsel $172,500 per annum

        Legal Counsel $172,500 per annum

        Parliamentarian $171,315 per annum

        Chaplain $155,500 per annum38

        Source: For salaries of Members of Congress and Level IV of the Executive Schedule, U.S. President (Obama),

        “Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay,” Executive Order 13594, signed December 19, 2011, Federal Register, vol.

        76, p. 80196; for salaries of officers and officials of the Senate, the Order of the President pro tempore,

        implementing a pay increase for Senate employees, effective January 1, 2010, issued January 5, 2010 (contained in

        2 U.S.C. 60a-1). Estimates may also be obtained by examining the semi-annual Report of the Secretary of the Senate.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Yet I’m doing my math wrong?? Ohh and I have MANY Nice things. ;-)

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Compensation of Committee Employees

        House of Representatives

        The maximum annual salary for employees of committees, as established in the 2009 pay order, is

        $172,500 for up to three staff members (two majority and one minority); $170,696 for up to nine

        staff members (six majority and three minority);39 and a maximum of $168,411 for other staff.40

        Senate

        The maximum annual salary for employees of committees, as established in the 2009 pay order

        and continued in the 2010 pay order, is $171,315.41

        Author Contact Information

        Ida A. Brudnick

        Specialist on the Congress

        [email protected], 7-6460

        Acknowledgments

        This report was originally written by Paul E. Dwyer, formerly a Specialist in American National

        Government at CRS, who has since retired. The listed author updated the report and is available to answer

        questions concerning its contents.

        39 The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations may establish the salaries for 24 staff, seven of which are

        to be designated by the ranking minority party Member.

        40 U.S. Congress, House, Order of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, implementing a pay increase for House

        employees, effective January 9, 2009, issued January 9, 2009 (contained in 2 U.S.C. 60a-2a).

        41 U.S. Congress, Senate, Order of the President pro tempore, implementing a pay increase for Senate employees,

        effective January 1, 2009, issued March 12, 2009; and Order of the President pro tempore, implementing a pay increase

        for Senate employees, effective January 1, 2010, issued January 5, 2010 (contained in 2 U.S.C. 60a-1).

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        (MONEY Magazine) – Predictably in this election year, the 435 U.S. representatives and 100 senators have spent much of their time scrambling for political cover or trying to make light of their embarrassment over a phenomenal string of congressional fiascos. Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) facetiously asks audiences: ”Please don’t tell my mother I am a politician. She thinks I am a prostitute.” More seriously, in early April, House and Senate leaders vowed at least to reduce the cost to taxpayers of princely perks for all elected lawmakers, such as free prescription drugs and free physicals at Congress’ Office of the Attending Physician. House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.) called these cutbacks and the pending appointment of a House administrator and an inspector general ”the most far-reaching internal reforms in the history of the Congress.” But so far the proposed congressional reforms are more cosmetic than far- reaching. MONEY calculates, for example, that if each legislator paid one of the new fees endorsed by Foley — $520 a year to use the Office of the Attending Physician — the $278,200 generated would account for less than 15% of that well-staffed office’s $2.2 million annual budget. All told, Foley’s perk paring would save taxpayers less than $1 million — or not even four- hundredths of a percent of Congress’ annual spending. Similarly, legislators have vowed to trim their spending on themselves in 1993. But don’t count on it. Lawmakers sliced 8% off their budget in 1987 too. By the end of that year, however, spending had actually risen 11%. It’s no wonder that only 10% of Americans express a great deal of confidence in Congress, down from 28% in 1984, according to a Harris poll. A two-month MONEY investigation into the ways lawmakers spend taxpayers’ dollars on themselves reveals, among other things, that our legislature is now the most expensive in the world. Congress’ estimated $2.8 billion tab is more than 10 times the cost of the 346-member Canadian parliament. Or measured another way, U.S. taxpayers will spend an estimated $5.2 million per lawmaker this year. Other highlights: — Over the past two decades, Congress’ spending on itself has shot up 705% — more than double the 280% rise in inflation as well as the 311% increase in the defense budget. While Congress may cost about $2.8 billion this year, back in 1970, taxpayers had to spend only $343 million to cover the U.S. Government’s entire legislative branch — which consists of the House, the Senate and support agencies like the Library of Congress and the General Accounting Office, Congress’ investigative arm. — Members of Congress, who now earn $129,500 each, rank among the top-paid 2% of all working Americans. Since 1980, the lawmakers’ salaries have more than doubled, making them twice as highly paid as their counterparts in Canada and the British House of Commons. In addition, MONEY estimates that seven key perks that members of Congress enjoy effectively boost their individual compensation by another $38,702 a year (see the table at right). Many of these perks, including beneficent health coverage, are also extended to congressional staffers and other federal employees. The creme de la perk: an extraordinary pension plan that, for example, currently pays retired lawmakers as much as $155,040 a year. Says John Haley, a senior actuarial consultant at the Wyatt Co., an employee-benefits consulting firm: ”I can’t think of a corporate pension plan anywhere near as generous.” — Thanks to tricky bookkeeping, Congress obscures millions of dollars it spends on itself annually. One example of this legislative legerdemain: Each year lawmakers purposely exclude their own salaries and benefits from Congress’ budget, understating their spending by $87.3 million in 1992 alone. They can do this because they have turned their compensation into a permanent appropriation, a status usually reserved for nondiscretionary items like interest on the national debt. What’s more, legislative leaders can take money that was earmarked for one congressional purpose and, without a floor vote, spend it on another. Last year, Speaker Foley used $313,175 of the $4 million budgeted for repairing the Capitol’s steps to create a three-room suite with a fully equipped kitchen for the Democratic Policy and Steering Committee, which controls Democratic committee assignments. House Speaker Thomas Foley’s spokesman Jeff Biggs says such budgetary transfers are ”common and essential in all branches of the government.” How has Congress become so costly? In large part, the legislators’ support staffs have swollen far beyond the number that even many lawmakers admit they need to do their jobs effectively. And representatives and senators have then showered themselves and staffers with cushy salaries and perks.

        THE STAFF BLOAT In the 1950s, Congress served the nation’s 162 million people with a staff of 5,373. Since then, while the population rose about 50%, the House’s and Senate’s direct employees nearly quadrupled to 20,362. And the total hits 38,696 (down 3% from the mid-’80s) when you count everyone else on the legislative payroll — for example, the 2,242 workers in the office of the Architect of the Capitol (up 41% since 1970), which maintains buildings and grounds. That makes Capitol Hill a bigger employer than the governments of all but three cities: New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Today, the average representative spends roughly $480,000 to employ about 15 people, with a maximum allowance of $590,760 for 18 full-time personal staffers. Senators receive between $1.1 million and $1.9 million, depending on their state’s population. Average staff size: 41. Some legislators, however, manage to get by without armies of staffers. For example, Rep. William Natcher (D-Ky.), with a staff of nine, spends only 40% of his allowance, according to Roll Call Report Syndicate, a Washington, D.C. news service. More staff hasn’t helped Congress produce better legislation. Historically, | much of a staffer’s work is devoted to furthering the boss’ re-election efforts. But as the amount of money needed to mount an effective campaign has soared — in 1990, the average House member raised $440,480 and the average senator $4.1 million — incumbents have increasingly used staffers for political work. ”I’d say about 20% of a legislator’s staff time now goes to official legislative business,” says John Jackley, a former press aide to Rep. Ronald Coleman (D-Texas) and author of the recently published Hill Rat: Blowing the Lid off Congress (Regnery Gateway, $21.95). ”The other 80% goes to political purposes, mainly getting re-elected.” The personal staff’s campaign efforts are often blatant — but perfectly proper under Congress’ rules of ethics. One example: At least four people are now drawing congressional salaries while simultaneously working to re-elect Sen. Robert Packwood (R-Ore.) this fall. Packwood’s chief of staff Elaine Franklin will get paid $86,000 this year by the Senate and draw another $25,000 from the senator’s re-election committee for the 20 hours a week or so of campaign work she says she performs on her personal time. She adds that she will go off the Senate payroll in September. Although this practice is accepted, critics claim it’s impossible to keep the two roles truly separate. ”The fact that people still on the congressional payroll can help their bosses get re-elected should be repugnant to voters,” says Charles Lewis, director of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. PILING ON PAY AND PERKS The raises Congress pushed through in the last five days of the 1989 session ultimately boosted their salaries 45%, to $129,500. Moreover, six congressional leaders make as much as 28% more than rank and filers. Speaker Foley’s salary is $166,200, while Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D- Maine) earns $143,800. Although the newly ratified 27th constitutional amendment, drafted in 1789 by founding father James Madison, prevents any future Congress from voting itself a mid-term raise, it won’t necessarily keep the pay from climbing. That’s because back in ’89, legislators voted to link their salaries to annual increases in an index of private-sector wages. This year’s congressional raise: 3.5%. Furthermore, the Madison amendment will have no effect on all the remarkable fringe benefits that Congress has voted for itself and its staffers. For example, members and staffers automatically qualify for comprehensive health coverage regardless of their medical history. Insurance premiums are reasonable — about $1,030 a year for a family — because taxpayers subsidize the remaining $3,100 or so. Coverage continues in retirement too. Some perks, like free parking on Capitol Hill and in lots adjacent to the terminals at Washington-area airports, make a legislator’s life more comfortable. Others save lawmakers money. For example, they can book VIP lodging at four national parks at $66 to $194 a person per day, including a three-bedroom beachfront cottage on St. John, in the Virgin Islands. Those rates are sometimes 40% below what citizens pay for comparable park accommodations. The most frequently abused perk is franking, the legislators’ right to send mail and newsletters postage-free to constituents. The average representative will mail out about $180,000 worth of postage-free letters and brochures this year — some $30,000 more than the average senator will spend on mailings to voters throughout an entire state. The total bill — an estimated $80 million to $90 million for fiscal 1992 — would cover roughly half a billion pieces of mail, or more than the number of catalogues L.L. Bean, Spiegel and Eddie Bauer will send out this year combined. (For a list of the 12 most notorious mailers, see the box on page 134.) Congressional members insist they need the free mail to keep their constituents abreast of legislative developments. But critics dismiss that excuse, noting that politicians typically flood mailboxes in election years. According to the House Administration Committee, representatives, on average, spent about 70% more on franked mail in the past six election years than in the off years.

        THOSE PLENTIFUL PENSIONS The juiciest Capitol Hill perks are congressional pensions, which provide double to triple the benefits offered by most private employers. Today, some former lawmakers’ annual pensions are twice as high as their pre-retirement congressional pay. (For details on Sen. Robert Dole’s multiple government pensions, see Editor’s Notes on page 7.) The 1989 pay raise law also boosted the average lifetime pension of House members who retire after 1992 from $1.1 million to $1.5 million and that of senators from $1.7 million to $2 million. According to estimates by the National Taxpayers Union, based on current pay, 4% annual inflation and normal actuarial assumptions, Rep. Patricia Schroeder would get the highest projected lifetime benefit of $3.6 million in the House, while Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) would top the Senate’s list with $3.9 million, assuming both retired this year. If they serve longer, they would get even more. In all, an estimated 300 or so members will each collect lifetime pension benefits of $1 million or more, while roughly 90 will pull down at least $2 million. ”Congress has become a pension millionaires’ club,” says David Keating, executive director of the National Taxpayers Union. Among the pensions’ noteworthy provisions: — Lawmakers and staffers who began working for the federal government after 1983 can retire with a full pension at age 50 after 20 years of service. — Although most companies calculate pensions by multiplying an employee’s years of service by the average of his or her five highest-paid years times 1.5%, members of Congress have their tenure multiplied by the average of their highest three years’ salary, boosting their pensions by giving more weight to their peak years. This figure is then multiplied by as much as 2.5%. — Congressional pensions automatically rise to match the annual increases in the consumer price index for members and staffers employed by the government before 1984. For others, the automatic increases begin at age 62. Few major companies offer such a guarantee. Like many corporate employees, lawmakers can invest as much as 10% of their salary in tax-deferred savings plans (1992 maximum contribution: $8,728). The taxpayers put in the matching funds of up to $6,475 a year. As if the pensions and savings plans aren’t enough, some House members will qualify for a special golden parachute if they retire this year. The reason: An amendment buried in a 1979 law allows members who took the oath of office before 1980 to keep any leftover campaign money for their personal use when they retire. In 1989, Congress limited this goodie, saying that lawmakers could take the money remaining in November 1989 only if they left before 1993. Thanks to the law, at least 30 of the 81 legislators who announced their retirements or were defeated in this year’s primaries can pocket a total of $9 million of unused campaign funds — including $660,682 by 58-year-old Larry Hopkins (R-Ky.) alone — according to Public Citizen, an advocacy group. Most of the 30 say they will donate the money to charity, other candidates or political parties (though they can change their minds, of course). But not 78- year-old Walter Jones (D-N.C.). The 26-year House veteran says he plans to use his $297,227 to augment his $71,268 annual pension.

        WHAT REFORMS ARE NEEDED MONEY’s interviews with legislators, scholars and citizen advocates suggested that voters should press their congressional candidates to support these four steps to increase efficiency while simultaneously cutting costs by almost $1 billion a year: — Eliminate unnecessary staff and committees. House Minority Leader Robert Michel (R-Ill.) contends that the House could operate better with half of its present 186 committees and subcommittees. Other legislators believe staff levels could be slashed by a third to a half. Says Rep. Andrew Jacobs (D- Ind.), who uses only 10 staffers, rather than the typical 15 to 20: ”Legislators would be forced actually to know something about the issues that they’re voting on and not rely so much on their staff.” — Hire a Big Six accounting firm annually to audit Congress’ books using the same standards that apply in the private sector. One major goal: to abolish the labyrinth that passes for bookkeeping on Capitol Hill. — Eliminate every perk that is not necessary for lawmakers to do their jobs. In February, Rep. James Nussle (R-Iowa) sponsored a bill to close the House and Senate barber shops and require legislators to pay the going rate for airport parking, medical care and other free or subsidized services. Not surprisingly, the bill is bogged down in six committees. Another suggestion: Pare back the legislative branch’s retirement plans to make them comparable to private pensions. Savings: some $100 million a year. — And stamp out the frank except to answer constituents’ letters or queries. Potential savings: $100 million to $150 million per two-year session. Better yet, the number of staffers now employed chiefly to draft copy for mass missives, assemble mailing lists and stuff envelopes could be sharply reduced while those that stayed on could be given legitimate legislative work — which is what taxpayers ought to be paying Congress to do.

        BOX: SIX STRANGE CONGRESSIONAL JOBS

        Your taxes pay some staffers essentially to make lawmakers’ lives more comfortable. Here are six such jobs, with salaries. In some cases, only one chamber agreed to give MONEY details.

        VIDEO PRODUCER (about $44,000): Eighty-nine producers, technicians and assistants provide coverage of hearings ^ and debates and prepare news releases for legislators to send to broadcast shows back home.

        CHAUFFEUR ($40,667): Three drivers shuttle House leaders around Washington. Annual cost of the drivers and the 14-vehicle House fleet: about $172,000. The Senate declined to discuss drivers.

        UPHOLSTERER ($35,640): The four House upholsterers, who fix up furniture in members’ offices and meeting rooms, cost taxpayers $138,000 annually. The Senate again declined to answer questions.

        SENIOR HAIRSTYLIST ($32,917): Twenty-six barbers, beauticians, manicurists and shampooers cut and coif hair at cut-rate prices in the four House and Senate beauty and barber shops.

        GARAGE ATTENDANT ($31,984): About 80 attendants work at the Capitol’s garages and parking lots, which are free to legislators but off limits to the general public.

        FOLDING OPERATOR ($30,346): A staff of 12 so-called folders in the Senate operate machines that prepare mass postage-free mailings to lawmakers’ constituents. The House declined to discuss its folders.

        BOX:

        CONGRESS’ SPENDING ON ITSELF HAS SHOT UP ABOUT TWICE AS FAST AS THE DEFENSE BUDGET SINCE 1970.

        AS MUCH AS 80% OF LEGISLATIVE STAFFERS’ TIME IS DEVOTED TO GETTING THEIR EMPLOYERS RE-ELECTED.

        CHART: NOT AVAILABLE CREDIT: Source: Office of Management and Budget CAPTION: THE HIGH COST OF RUNNING CONGRESS The cost of operating the U.S. Congress plus its 38,696-person support staff has zoomed from $343 million in fiscal 1970 to an estimated $2.8 billion for 1992 — an astounding 705% rise, more than double the 311% in crease in defense spending over the same period. This chart shows the money spent in 1970, 1980 and 1992 by the House of Represen tatives, the Senate and related agencies such as the General Ac counting Office. The agencies, which are all funded by Congress, posted the greatest spending in creases — 776%, vs. 629% for the House and Senate combined.

        CHART: NOT AVAILABLE CREDIT: NO CREDIT CAPTION: HOW CONGRESS PERKS UP ITS PAY Members of Congress officially earn $129,500 a year, up a mu nificent 45% from $89,500 in 1989. But according to MONEY’s calculations, the typical lawmaker actually collects $168,202, if you count seven key taxpayer-paid perks that are the equiva lent of extra pay. (We excluded such perks as subsidized meals because their use varies so much among legislators that it’s im possible to assign specific values to them.) It’s worth noting that since some of the big bennies are directly linked to salary, their cost has been outpacing inflation. Example: Between 1980 and 1992, taxpayers’ share of the average lawmaker’s an nual pension costs nearly doubled from roughly $12,000 to $23,764, thereby rising slightly faster than the rate of inflation.

        Source: National Taxpayers Union CAPTION: THE 12 MOST NOTORIOUS MAILERS Postage-free mailings to constituents, a 217-year-old privilege known as franking, is among the most prized and abused perks on Capitol Hill. And Americans pay dearly for it: $80 million to $90 million this year alone. Although lawmakers have given themselves lavish individual franking allowances, some man age to exceed them. This table lists the 12 House members who used 100% or more of their franking allowances last year. How can they surpass the maximum? Simple. They are able to trans fer as much as $25,000 from other accounts. Representatives tend to mail more than senators, especially in election years.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        I could continue providing more and more evidence of my Argument, but I feel, If you REALLY wanted to know, you would already. There is Way more evidence of what I’m saying than what you are saying. What does that Mean?? I wonder??

      • ThatDCGuy

        See, this is changing the essential point of your argument:

        Its not the Members, Its Members, their staff, operations of the Capitol that cost that much. If you are going to call attention to the pensions, have the audacity to actually post the numbers relevant to the PENSIONS. You are still wrong in that the 80% figure you mention is a maximum that comes with a lot more years of service than 5:

        “Under both CSRS and FERS, Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if
        they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of
        salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.

        As of October 1, 2011, 495 retired Members of Congress were receiving federal pensions based fully or in part on their congressional service. Of this number, 280 had retired under CSRS and were receiving an average annual pension of $70,620. A total of 215 Members had retired with service under FERS and were receiving an average annual pension of $39,576 in 2011.”

        CRS Report: Call #RL30631

        CSRS is the system that is no longer around… and is aging out now.

        FERS is the current system

        Hardly 80% for those vested members, don’t ya think?

        You are conflating numbers, misunderstanding how the pension and medical systems operate, and simply failing at independent analysis. Stick to the numbers provided by reports and don’t try to do your own math.

        You can post as many salaries as you like, but that has ZERO to do with your initial argument. If you want to make the case that members are overpaid, or their staffs are too large, fine. Make that argument. But Don’t try and conflate numbers that have no relation to one another to draw an incorrect conclusion.

        I am out. it appears you have made up your mind before actually looking at existing data:

        *drops mic*

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        In 2010 and 2011, the average pay is $174,000. Leadership positions pay higher, with the Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader making over $210,000 a year. These salary figures come out to $95.8 million dollars for all 541 members of Congress.

        There are six members of Congress who hold committee positions and can debate on the floor, but who do not have voting power. So for a Congress that doesn’t work, we’re paying out $95.8 million in salaries, and that’s before we get into benefits, perks and retirement wages.

        We’ve all heard about the CongressionalHealth Care plan, not to mention their travel plans, security details and personal spendingaccounts. How much do these benefits and perks cost taxpayers in addition to the above salaries?

        In Fiscal Year 2010 (Oct 1 through Sept 30 of the following year), these programs accounted for $4.66 Billion in taxpayer funds. Compared to the national budget, the total of $4.74 Billion is a drop in the bucket, but even so when someone sees these salaries they begin to wonder why members of Congress are paid so much for doing so little to help the people who pay their salaries.

        These figures don’t count the retirement plans or salaries paid to former members of Congress. If a member of Congress serves for at least five years, be it in the Senate or the House of Representatives, they receive up0 to 80% pay and Full health benefits for life. The figures for this type of pay are not easily accessible, as they are muddled in with private insurance and other pay wages.

        The estimates for these benefits were between $500 million and $1.2 billion. That’s a wide range, but there are people receiving pay that are not former legislatures. The wives of prominent Senators Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy receive a reduced rate of pay under the “survivor benefit” plan. They can still access the health benefits, but receive between 50 and 75 percent of their late husbands salaries.

        This provides a rough estimate of $6 billion per year spent on Congressional pay and benefits.

        The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not this is money well spent.

      • ThatDCGuy

        Here is your original statement that I was arguing with:

        “The problem with that is, If they’ve been in Office for more than 5 years, we still end up paying them, By paying them full pay and health benefits for life, Plus their Wives or Husband gets 50%-75% of their Wages as Death Benefits, when they Die!! Right now, it Cost the American Taxpayers Close to $6.0 Billion per year. and That’s the one’s NOT In Office any more. Or somewhere close to that Number. Been awhile since I read the Article, and did the additional math. But either way, unless we get them out of Office FAST, we’ll be paying all the TeaBaggers for the rest of their Natural lives.”

        That is wrong. that is the only thing I care about here. Every statement in that is wrong. Every single one.

        I don’t care about your other arguments because I have no desire to debate with you. If you want to have the members cost too much debate, fine. I’m just not going to be the one to do it.

      • clr1390

        We send 1.5 billion to Egypt? The federal government is not the enemy. The people brainwashing people it is bad are the ones who reek the great benefits of government.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        My comments have nothing to do with what the Country sends to help other nations. My comment is Solely focusing on the $5 Billion Dollars “a Year” the American Taxpayer pays Congressional Members “Past & Present” Not that The Government Focusing on Helping others Nations, when we’ve got Starving Kids of our own, is really the way to go. IMO

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such Men/Women, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. POTUS A Lincoln
        .

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Speaking of Moving Heaven and Earth to Obtain it. Didn’t Anonymous, just keep the Election from being stolen?? “Again?” Seems they’ve proven my point over and over throughout history..

      • ThatDCGuy

        Yeah, no. They claimed they did, promised to provide evidence, then never did. Jesus. Do you believe everything the internet tells you?

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        I guess you just ignore it, and Watch Fox News, or one of the other 96% of Media outlets controlled by just 6 corporations, and accept what they tell you as facts. From our debate, I’ve come to be able to tell, that YOU Sir are part of the Problem with this Country. Nice how you go around put a Negative vote on all my comments, like I care what you think..LOL Keep living in your Fantasy Bubble where You’re Always Right and everyone else is always wrong. Typical.. I willing to wager that you’re a Republican.. They normally act the same way you are..

      • ThatDCGuy

        you would have lost that wager. Definitely not a Republican, lifelong liberal. I just like facts. Yeah, I vote down everything you say… because you havent yet learned how to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Its ok, you are not atypical in america. There are idiots on both sides.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        One of the early founders of the company was Mercer Reynolds who used to the finance chairman of the Republican Party. SMARTech’s top client was none other than the Bush-Cheney campaign itself and SMARTech also did work for Jeb Bush and the Republican National Committee. And it was Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, who ensured that SMARTech received the contract to count votes on election night should the servers go down, which they did at exactly 11:14pm.

        Sixty long seconds later the servers came back up in Ohio, but now with vote rerouted through SMARTech in Chattanooga. And, coincidentally, Bush’s prospects for re-election were suddenly a lot brighter. The vote totals that poured into the system from SmartTECH’s computer in Chattanooga were flipping the exit polls on their head. The lead Kerry had in the exit polls had magically reversed by more than 6%, something unheard of in any other nation in the developed world, giving Bush the win in Ohio and the presidency for another four years.

        Unger further explains in his book that the only independent analysis of what happened in Ohio was done by Richard Hayes Phillips and published in the book,Witness to a Crime. Phillips and his team analyzed more than 120,000 ballots, 127 polls books, and 141 signature books from Ohio’s 2004 election.

        Phillips found zero irregularities in vote totals from all the counties that reported results before the servers crashed at 11:14pm. But of the fourteen counties that came in after the crash connected Ohio’s election computers to SmartTECH’s computers in Chattanooga, every single one of them showed voter irregularities – that all favored George W. Bush.

        For example, consider Cleveland’s Fourth Ward. In 2000, Al Gore won 95% of that ward’s vote. But in 2004, the county reported its results after the 11:14 pm crash, and it showed that Kerry had only won 59% of the vote – a 35% drop without any explanation. There were several other abnormalities across Ohio’s post-server crash that delivered the state to Bush.

        John Kerry never protested the election and to this day, these 2004 voter abnormalities have never been addressed.

        Curiously, the Ohio Secretary of State’s vote tabulation website went down at 11:13pm, as reported by Free Press election protection website monitors, and mentioned by Rove on the news. This was one minute earlier than the time on election night 2004 — when Ohio votes were outsourced to Chattanooga, Tennessee — and then the vote flipped for Bush…This time, the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) vote tabulation site went down as on election night as well. In his rant on Fox, Rove argued that Fox News should not confirm Ohio for Obama until votes came in from the southwest Ohio GOP strongholds of Delaware, Butler and Warren counties and suburban Cincinnati. It was after the crash of the secretary of state’s site in 2004 that improbable vote totals came in from Republican counties in southwest Ohio – particularly Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties. These three counties provided more than Bush’s entire Ohio victory margin of 119,000.

        Just a few weeks before Election Day, the hacktivist group Anonymous issued a videostatement against Karl Rove. Anonymous is notorious for numerous cyber actions against the Justice Department, the Pentagon, the Recording Industry of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and even the Church of Scientology.

        In the video released prior to Election Day, Anonymous warns Karl Rove that he’s being watched. “We know that you will attempt to attempt to rig the election of Mitt Romney to your favor,” a black-robed figure in a Guy Fawkes mask says in the video. “We will watch as your merry band of conspirators try to achieve this overthrow of the United States government.”

        The figure then warns Rove that Anonymous is “watching and monitoring all your servers,” and goes on to say, “We want you to know that we are watching you, waiting for you to make this mistake of thinking you can rig this election to your favor…If we catch you we will turn over all of this data to the appropriate officials in the hopes that you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

        Then, just two days after Election Day, as the Republican Party was in full-blown despair and Karl Rove was trying to figure out what went wrong, Anonymousreleased a press statement claiming it did indeed prevent an attempt by Rove to steal the election for Mitt Romney.

        The statement reads, “We began following the digital traffic of one Karl Rove…After a rather short time, we identified the digital structure of Karl’s operation and even that of his ORCA. This was an easy task in that barn doors were left open and the wind swept us inside.”The “ORCA” that Anonymous is referring to in the press release is a massive, high-tech get-out-the-vote system created by the Romney campaign this year that will keep tabs on potential voters and coordinate with operatives to target who has and hasn’t voted yet on Election Day.

        Romney’s Communications Director Gail Gitcho bragged about how sophisticatedORCA is saying, “At 5 o’clock when the exit polls come out, we won’t pay attention to that. We will have had much more scientific information based on the political operation we have set up.” In other words, ORCA will know who won Ohio better than any exit polls.

        But, according to Anonymous, ORCA had nothing to do with getting out the vote and everything to do with rigging the vote.

        “We coded and created, what we call The Great Oz. A targeted password protected firewall that we tested and refined over the past weeks. We placed this code on more than one of the digital tunnels and their destination that Karl’s not so smart worker bees planned to use on election night.”

        Anonymous alleges these “digital tunnels” were leading to servers in three different states. The release goes on to detail what happened on election night as Rove’s operatives attempted to access these tunnels. “We watched as Karl’s weak corrupters repeatedly tried to penetrate The Great Oz. These children of his were at a loss-how many times and how many passwords did they try-exactly 105.”

        “Karl’s speared ORCA whale was breached, rotting with a strong stench across his playground, unable to be resuscitated,” claims Anonymous.

        So might this have really been the reason for Karl Rove’s shock on election night? Under the guise of sophisticated get out the vote operation, had Rove and the Republican Party actually built up a massive system to steal the Ohio election, just like in 2004, only to have it thwarted at the last minute by a group of computer hackers?

        I’ll believe what I can find Multiple sources of Before I believe ANYTHING the Media tells me, Particularly when it comes to Our Government..

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Phillips found zero irregularities in vote totals from all the counties that reported results before the servers crashed at 11:14pm. But of the fourteen counties that came in after the crash connected Ohio’s election computers to SmartTECH’s computers in Chattanooga, every single one of them showed voter irregularities – that all favored George W. Bush. Which is Kind of Convenient don’t you think..He’s loosing the Election, Servers go down, and when they come back up, he’s winning. Seems Like Rove was rather Irritated that it didn’t happen again in Ohio, when yet again the Servers go down, Yet there’s no Truth to what Anonymous says because they’re on the Internet.. Really?? Yet I bet you believe Everything Fox news and the media says, as Facts, because they’re on TV.. WTFE!

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Nice just put a Negative Vote to one The Greatest Americans we’ve ever had.

      • Rachel

        So, if you are in congress why don’t you get back to work not doing crap like you’ve been doing, instead of trolling the Internet and picking fights with the American voter. Or are you just a pathological liar?

      • ThatDCGuy

        What I do with my breaks and free time is my business. Furthermore, Not picking fights, just trying to dam the deluge of garbage that comes out of peoples mouths.

        If you are thinking I wasted my time? Yup. I did. You guys probably didn’t listen to a word I said.

        Also, “trolling” is the exact opposite of what I was doing. I was sourcing my statements, trying to bring the discussion out of its juvenile stage and trying to keep the argument focused on the original topic. I was not doing this for attention, but more out of a general frustration that the same un-facts are circulating as truth on the internet.

        But c’est la vie. It’s the internet, what are you gonna do.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        It is a Matter of being able to do math. You see it “The Internet” tells you exactly what they make every year “What is publically known anyway.”. it tells you who is who, and how many of them there are etc. So go ahead and do the math and see if it doesn’t come up to the Numbers provided. OH! Google “What does Congress Cost TaxPayers every year.” It might help ya some..
        Peace..

      • ThatDCGuy

        Then you are doing your math on faulty assumptions. Come on, just link to the study or say that this is your own math. If its your own mathk, then you are doing it wrong. I don’t blame you, the pension system is rather complex and it has confused many a person trying to take a quick look at it to figure out congressional benefits.

      • CherMoe

        They’ll believe Fox “news” but not the internet sources. Isn’t that a kicker?

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Isn’t it Ironic that the Internet, is also a source for any Media Station.

      • Siobhan Elizabeth

        I did list the source at the beginning of my post. However, you would have to google it. CNN doesn’t allow links in comments. All get listed as requiring approval from a moderator. I posted several comments with links, and not one of them was ever approved. They are simply ignored.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        These figures don’t count the retirement plans or salaries paid to former members of Congress. If a member of Congress serves for at least five years, be it in the Senate or the House of Representatives, they receive full pay and health benefits for life. The figures for this type of pay are not easily accessible, as they are muddled in with private insurance and other pay wages.

        The estimates for these benefits were between $500 million and $1.2 billion. That’s a wide range, but there are people receiving pay that are not former legislatures. The wives of prominent Senators Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy receive a reduced rate of pay under the “survivor benefit” plan. They can still access the health benefits, but receive between 50 and 75 percent of their late husbands salaries.

      • Siobhan Elizabeth

        The pensions of our politicians are not full pay. No one gets paid a pension that is equal to (or more, as some memes I’ve seen claim) than the pay of an actively working member of the government. Go to the Wikipedia page on “Congressional Pension” it explains how the pension is determined, and it is a % of what they earned while in office. No one gets paid an equal amount or more to NOT WORK than to work at a job. I really wish people would do a simple google search before posting “facts”

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Really, because I don’t use “Meme” for my Sources,, I used Google and found Multiple sources saying the EXACT same thing, IE they collect Full Pay, and Full Benefits. One place I will NEVER use as a Source is Wiki, since anybody and their dog can edit what is said.

      • Siobhan Elizabeth

        From Politifact: But the still-circulating email contains another claim that several readers have asked about in recent days: that members of Congress can “retire with the same pay after only one term.”

        This claim is a classic in its own right. Our friends at the urban legend checker Snopes say it has been circulating in various chain emails since at least 2000.

        The claim means that rank-and-file members of the House of Representatives would receive full pay of $174,000 per year, for the rest of their lives, after serving as little as two years.

        Nice work if you can get it. But members of Congress can’t.

        A report on “Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress,” prepared in November by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, outlines how pension benefits are calculated.

        The key provision: no member of Congress is eligible for any pension unless he or she has served in Congress for at least five years. (Senators serve six-year terms; House members must seek reelection every two years.)

        To collect, a congressman or senator must be age 62, or be at least age 50 with 20 years of service, or be any age with 25 years of service.

        Under the most recent pension program, adopted in 1984, the size of a pension is based on the highest three years of a member’s salary, the number of years of service and a multiplier, which is 1.7 percent for the first 20 years of service and 1.0 percent for subsequent years.

        Here’s an example, using a typical 25-year rank-and-file member who retired this year. The pension would be the sum of two calculations. First, multiply $172,443 [the average salary over the last three years] times 20 years times 0.017. Then, multiply $172,443 times 5 years times 0.01 and add that number to the first calculation. The total: about $67,250 per year.

        A three-term congressman (or one-term senator) who has now reached retirement age would be eligible for an annual pension of $17,588 for six years of work. That’s generous, but not close to full pay.

        Federal law prevents members of Congress from getting full-pay retirement when they leave office. The report says, “By law, the starting amount of a member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80 percent of his or her final salary.”

        Under the formula, it would take 67 years of service to hit that limit.

        So the email saying that members of Congress can “receive full pay retirement after serving one term” is blatantly bogus. It’s never full pay and the only one-term members who would be eligible for any pension would be senators.

        Snopes rated the pension claim as False. Our colleagues at FactCheck have also debunked the claim — which, over the years, has been accompanied by assertions that members of Congress don’t pay into their Social Security (they have since 1984) or that they don’t contribute anything toward their retirement (they do).

        For a bogus claim that’s been circulating at least 13 years, and for anyone who still spreads it, we’ll break out the matches. Pants on Fire!

      • CherMoe

        What a coincidence that the “rumor” has circulated for 13 years since Bush was installed in the White House.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Also Please explain How Anyone in Congress actually “Works” for their Money. Are they passing Bills for the People?? Nope.. Are they Protecting the People Rights and Liberties? Nope.. Do they work 9-5 Mon. thru Fri. 52 Weeks a year? Nope They BARELY show up for “work” 120 Days a year, So Please tell me How is it they are considered to be “Working” at all?

      • Siobhan Elizabeth

        Members of Congress & the Senate work in their districts when Congress is not in session. Your reps have offices, usually several, in the districts they serve. When congress is in session, their staffers run the offices. When not in session, they work at one of their local offices. If you want to accuse them of not working, accuse them for spending all their time blocking legislation based on party politics, instead of working for compromise.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        I’m sorry If I was to say that, I’d have to be speaking solely about the Republicans in Office, While the NDAA2011/NDAA2012 were both Co-written with a Democrat. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released the new House calendar for the 113th Congress, if you thought the 112th Congress was unproductive—just wait.

        In 2013, the House will be in session for a grand total of 126 days. Congress will spend roughly two-thirds of the year not working. In January, Congress will be in session for eight days—which, compared to August where they will be in session for two days, is considered a “full month.” June will be Congress’ busiest month with 16 whole days of work.

        If only we could all give ourselves 239 days off every year.
        I don’t count their Staff Working, as Them working. I’m sorry But when you’re getting paid between 170k and 250k a Year + Benefits, and you are working for 366 MILLion Americans, and 6.7 Billion Humans around the World, You should be Working Just as Everyone Else does.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        Ohh and please explain to me how the CBO has documentation as to the Figures I stated. And why you failed to talk about the fact, they get it for Life, and their Family get’s it after that?

      • Guest

        Would you care sharing your source then?

        I have not read the CBO report and I work on the Hill.

      • Jonathan Peddicord

        They I guess that show’s exactly how well you do your Job then huh? I personally would expect more involvement than and regular citizen from someone who works on “The Hill”.

      • CherMoe

        Well, take for example one politician making $200,000 a year and multiply that times say 75%. What does that come up to? $150,000 PLUS health care and benefits, staff or whatever it is they get. That’s STILL quite a chunk of change to pay for ONE politician. Even if they only get 50% that’s still $100,000 a year. What do YOU make for working? What do YOU make for NOT working?? Think about it. You act like other people are idiots. We’re not. The fact remains that these overpaid buffoons who work something like 126 days a year and DON’T work FOR the people (for corporations instead) are being paid BY US. Would YOU get paid for NOT doing your job? The FACTS are this system stinks to high heaven and the ones getting the shaft is WE, THE PEOPLE.

      • Mr. Smith

        The problem with that is its “everyone else that sux not the guy I voted for”.
        People need to start looking at the people they keep voting for and decide if they need a change.They keep complaining about the other guy without reflecting on the progress of their own choices.

        I would like to see a comparison pole of national approval and state approval for each states congressmen. I would wager the state approval rating only voting for your state the numbers would be quite high. I am a conservative republican that largely votes democratic including voting for Mr Obama because of the freak show the republican party has become.

        I believe in voting for the best man for the job or at the very least the lesser of two evils. I’m not shy about saying you did poorly your first term so I won’t vote for you again.

        I hear things like “I’m voting for him because hes a good christian.” That crap needs to stop, just because he praises Jesus and goes to church doesn’t make him a christian and darn sure doesn’t make him a good politician.

        This is my opinion I could be wrong.

      • ThatDCGuy

        You are actually very right. It is a well known political phenomenon that people will give Congress as a whole a very low rating but will give their own member a relatively high rating. Its just the way it is.

        Until people are willing to take a risk in the primaries and oust an incumbent, this is the system we have,

    • Len Woelfel

      I’d like to see career term limits. That is, no one can serve in elected office for a total of more than 20 years, not counting local offices such as mayor, city council, etc. So if you’re a U.S. Rep for 12 years and a governor for 8, you can’t serve any more than municipal or county posts again. Being a politician shouldn’t be a career.

  • Sandy99

    Boehner is lousy at his job because he has a drinking problem. Why else would he cede all of his authority and power to a bunch of freshmen Tea Party punks? Cantor has been undermining him as well. He needs to use some of that great health care benefits we pay for and check into a rehab.

    • ThatDCGuy

      He’s actually a really rational, level-headed guy when I ran into him at the cigar-bar in DC. Had a couple cocktails with him.

      Do I agree with him on anything? nope. Do I respect the guy? a little.

      If anything I feel bad for him… he is a lost puppy right now. Eric Cantor is running the show.

  • melloe

    It would be comical if it was so disastrous for the country. I mean children going hungry… if no other reason, should be a wake up call.

  • Ted Truslow

    The contempt that House Speaker, John Boehner has for the American people is overwhelmingly obvious. Vote him out in November of 2014.

    • JeriLynn Dringenberg

      Sure would be nice to vote him out wouldn’t it, except he runs unopposed.

      • Michael Hill

        There should be a law that no candidate for federal office can run unopposed.

      • Jen

        Then we’d have no one in that position, which wouldn’t work either. The states have to be equally represented.

      • gailillly

        I AGREE Michael and there should be TERM LIMITS.

      • babyowl53

        No one has to vote for him at all….opposed or unopposed. All they have to do is write in mickey mouse or some one else.

      • Len Woelfel

        The rules regarding write-in candidates vary from state to state. And even if all write-ins got more than him, it’s likely no single, actual write-in would get enough of a majority to unseat him. So there’s be a special election, etc., which would cost more dollars and probably accomplish nothing.

      • Barbara Webb

        That would be a terrible thing to do to Mickey Mouse.

      • babyowl53

        You’re right….then fill in with John Doe…anything but John Boehner.

      • clr1390

        No kidding. Show how dumb Americans are.

      • Jim Wetherell

        this guy is running against Boehner
        Andrew Hounshell for Congress
        look him up on FB

      • Kathryn Mccauley

        Andrew Hounshell is withdrawing from the 8th District Congressional race for 2014. says so on his fb

    • dhopfe

      Does not matter if Boehner runs unopposed, if we vote out all of his buddies in congress and make it a democratic congress then Boehner won’t be speaker for much longer… His days will be numbered if that is done. Get rid of the tea party lackeys and you’ll see.

  • Ted Truslow

    The Democrats need to change that in a hurry!

  • GC

    Cantor may yet push Boehner off his chair and he will be worse.

  • paul piotter

    one of the worst hell he is the worst. wow Americas got the worst speaker at the same time they have one of the best presidents

  • jessicaj

    TIC. TOC. TIC. TOC….DEAR BOEHNER… YOUR TIME IN OFFICE IS SOON TO AN END…. AND REST ASSURED I AM IN YOUR DISTRICT AND I WILL BE FIRING YOUR SORRY . LAME. ASS. BYE ASSHOLE.

  • Diamar

    Siobhan’s right….let your VOTE speaker LOUDER than any of their ridiculous wide-right agendas. Vote freedom and equality for ALL!! & personally, I think Boehner is bad on purpose. Yeah, he’s not the brightest bulb, but I really think he believes that anything against the President is points for the GOP, regardless of how BAD it is for the rest of us CITIZENS. But, before you ‘fire the lot of them’, take a good look at the prior congress under Pelosi. They got things done! Many of those in congress are working harder than ever to stop this shanghai’d ultra-right-wing agenda. Vote out the obstructionists! Let the country progress forward. Give EVERYONE equal rights! Show basic responsibility when it comes to guns. Allow everyone equal rights to the polls for voting. Leave womens’ medical issues to women and their doctors! Pass sensible immigration reform and allow people to come and make this country even greater! Reduce carbon emissions and work on renewable resources. Dedicate job growth to restoring infrastructure. Pay teachers what they’re worth. Support union rights…they were put in place as checks & balances to management overreach. Let the Democracy Breath!! Happy 4th..Happy Independence Day!! I love you, America.

    • Afi Keita James

      Fuck the left vs. right.

  • babyowl53

    This man is horrible…and a traitor to this country as instead of doing everything he can to help get this country back on track, he has thwarted the President every and I mean every step of the way. Just think…there are people out there that vote for this man. They too are traitors…the worst kind since they voted for him fully knowing how terrible he is.

    • TM McKeny

      You should thank him for keeping this country from becoming a total socialist state. If Obama had succeeded in implementing everything he wanted to, we would have NO freedoms left at all.

  • clr1390

    Conservatives hated Nancy Pelosi. They use to run around with a bus with her picture on it. They would whip up the hate and show her and Harry hanging from a tree. They are so real misguided fools, and if people do not work and come and and vote, we are going down, and it will be fast.

    • Afi Keita James

      Because Pelosi is a globalist war criminal and a puppet of the banksters
      plus she threw impeachment right off the table against the neocons.
      fuck her.

      • clr1390

        It is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. She did her job and got stuff done. What has John Boehner done. NOTHING. I really do not like John Boehner and his represents my district. But the hate for Nancy Pelosi because of the way Fox portrayed her is off the wall. Her job was to keep the majority in charge on the same page. She did. John can’t keep half of them on the same page. Those busses and hate for her are really strange. Most people in the US could not name a house majority till her. Fox, the propaganda machine packed up the lies and the uneducated racist followed.

      • Afi Keita James

        There is zero difference between these two parties, both of them are bought and paid for
        pelosi is pathetic, she is nothing more than an AIPAC puppet like the rest of them
        And fuck MSM, they suck too.

        i’m a libertarian.

      • clr1390

        Like they are true blue. In a civilized country you can’t throw the poor under the bus and throw all the money up to the rich. Libertarian views are useless. The 1956 Republican Party Platform was America does not prosper till all Americans prosper. Taxes were high back in those days. And the country spent money pushing millions into building. Since the John Birch Society of greed has taken over, we give not much to the poor. We pay them less on the dollar than I made in 1978, and brainwashed people into thinking things like Social Security is bad. Get rid of it, and use the on your own, and watch this country go down. At least Democrats don’t run around with that constant small limited government BS while pushing idea out dated since the 1700′s.

      • Afi Keita James

        Yeah and you democrips are just sellouts to the miltary industrial complex that eisenhower warned us about.

        Both democrips and rebloodlicans have sold this country out to the illuminati and the new world order.

        you dumbocratic party died with JFK.
        Faggot ass moron.

      • Afi Keita James

        fuck you, you NWO Trash!

      • TM McKeny

        Tip O’Neil. She only got things done because the democrats had the majority in both the house and the senate.

  • John Valentine

    Boehner was made House Speaker by Democrats who abandoned Democrat candidates. Get your facts correct, or else gross indecencies like this will continue. United we stand, divided we lose elections.

  • Rodney Levenduski

    I think he should be impeached and than tried for treason against the American people. Maybe a civil suite to strip him of pension and healthcare benefits.

  • joe

    all the republicans have to do is go down to a mega church in the south and jingle keys. and lie through their teeth about who and what they are. then go on the jerry springer / national enquirer of tv, FOX news. and present conjecture and conspiracy theory’s for moron to eat up.

  • joe

    every time I fart, I think of the republican party. because everything they do, stinks!

  • Afi Keita James

    I Am so sick and tired of the republicans and the democrats aka rebloodlicans and democrips, if you put nancy pelosi back in as speaker of the house, she will be even worse.

  • gailillly

    Boehner has done NOTHING for nearly 5 yrs. now. Since they couldn’t make Obama a ONE term president (which was their agenda), this is their new agenda, To ruin Obama’s 2nd term and his LEGACY anyway they can. They don’t care that they are hurting the American people, just get Obama. They hate him that much and have said so. It isn’t because he is a Dem or that he is not qualified for the job as he is, it is ONE reason. This EATS at them like a CANCER, that the black guy won twice and lives in “their” white house. This is EXACTLY WHAT IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO and nothing more. RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE U.S. and it begins with the TOP, OUR PRESIDENT.

    • TM McKeny

      Typical liberal. Ignore the facts and just play the race card.

  • Afi Keita James

    Both Boehner and Pelosi are illuminati thugs.

  • TM McKeny

    I like how they use this to deflect from the fact that Obama has done even LESS!

  • PERBKERK

    I dunno, he’s doing a pretty good job keeping either party from doing anything.

    Which sounds like a good thing given that both parties are run by idiots intent on screwing us over somehow (or letting the banks do it).

    After all, the only thing crazier than letting the clowns run the circus is letting said clowns run everything outside the circus as well.

    So he gets an A+, 10/10, would vote for again if I lived in his district, though I doubt he’d run on the “we’re all incompetent and continue I’ll keep us from doing anything” platform…

  • Nesta Callahan

    Now everybody has thrown the Man out, but I do NOT think that John has been as BAD as Ms. Nancy Pelosi. She was the worst of the worst. But you can say that John has been holding Mr. Barry Soetero aka The President of these United States aka Barack Hussein Obama aka just OBAMA, and doing his best from becoming the nice Nancy, who would do anything for the president, even if he wanted to take us to war in a country in which was protecting Israel from IRAN, which he was protecting before the drunken GWB and his partner started that War in Iraq II, because he said that he was fighting for his father!

    Now it takes a MAN to keep his head when the Pres won’t listen to the people of these United States. I don’t know of any Responsible Person who would want to hold the office that John has held for these past couple of years. I know that the reason why the fall started to come to the congress is because of Ms Nancy Pelosi. She would give the president powers that are beyond her control. She has shown the world, even the Pope that she does NOT listen to any authority. That is why she has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church. She and her buddy the chief of the Senate are quite happy that everything in the Senate and the House of Representatives has come to a halt. As you can see she still has a little hold on her colleagues in the House but is losing her grip with them. She does not even care about her eternal soul, so why in the heck should she give a darn about us? John is holding his own so stop griping!

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