Tag Archives: Gary Ackerman

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

 

Well, the upside (for them) is that no one can accuse them of being another Michele Bachmann.

The Huffington Post

After Todd Akin lost the Missouri Senate race to Democrat Claire McCaskill in November, he had one final piece of business to take care of as an outgoing member of the House of Representatives — giving piles of government money to his staff. Akin nearly doubled the salaries of his House staffers in the quarter after his defeat, according to the website LegiStorm, which tracks congressional pay.

Only retiring Democrat Gary Ackerman of New York was more generous with public money, barely topping Akin’s 98 percent increase in pay, the website shows. Allen West, a Tea Party favorite from South Florida, was the fourth biggest giver of taxpayer bonuses after he lost reelection to Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) was the third most generous, according to LegiStorm.

West and Akin routinely decried wasteful and out-of-control government spending, calling for major cuts to social programs.

Of the top 10 members of Congress most generous with year-end bonuses, nine were Republicans, and 14 of the top 20 were, not coincidentally, on their way out of the House.

Republican Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Steve Austria (Ohio), Steve LaTourette (Ohio), Bob Turner (N.Y.), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.) rounded out the top 10 in 2012.

When Democrats lost a historic number of seats in 2010, outgoing members of the party lavished their staff with unspent money, with 18 of the top 20 givers carrying a D next to their name.

House staffers typically get bonuses at the end of the year depending on how much is left in the office budget, but on average in 2012 those bumps were just 16.4 percent for Republicans and 15.1 percent for Democrats. Bonuses are not labeled as such in the congressional books, but LegiStorm is able to count them by comparing the increase in reported salary in the fourth quarter to the average of the first three quarters.

 

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Poll: Republicans Who Want To Repeal Health Care Law Should Opt Out Of Gov’t-Sponsored Health Plans

Well, given that those politicians who oppose or want to repeal the Health-Care Law are so adamant about doing so, it would be a show of good faith for them to opt out of their government sponsored health care plans.  Let’s wait and see how this one pans out…

Think Progress

Last week, responding to Rep.-elect Andy Harris’ (R-MD) hypocritical demand for government-sponsored benefits, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) began circulating a letter among his Democratic colleagues calling on Harris and other members of Congress who want to repeal the new health care law to forgo their own government health care plans. So far just two incoming Republican freshmen — Rep.-elect Mike Kelly (PA) and Rep.-elect Bobby Schilling (IL) — have agreed. But a new Public Policy Polling survey has found that most Americans “think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they’re in office”:

Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion.

Democrats are actually the most supportive of anti-health care Congressmen taking their health care, with 40% saying they should accept it to 46% who think they should decline. But Republicans and independents- who put these folks in office in the first place- strongly think they should refuse their government provided health care. GOP voters hold that sentiment by a 58/28 margin and indys do 56/27.

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein estimated that Republicans could save the federal government $2.4 million if they forgo health care for a year. New members have 60 days (after being sworn-in) to select an insurance plan from the federal health insurance exchange, which will become available on the first day of the following month. Returning members can opt-out of the government-sponsored health insurance coverage until the end of the open-enrollment period, December 13th. The Wonk Room has more on why not opting out would be a betrayal of Republican candidates’ pledges to “listen[] to the people who sent us,” and on the scheme of Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), a reform proponent, to make the GOP lawmakers put up or shut up on repeal.

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