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Congressional members see an increase in salary

Communications at OpenSecrets.Org

Despite a stubbornly sour national economy congressional members’ personal wealth collectively increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a newstudy by the Center for Responsive Politics of federal financial disclosures released earlier this year.

When averaging lawmakers’ minimum and maximum potential wealth for 2009, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tops the list with holdings exceeding $303.5 million. Issa (pictured right) is followed by a fellow Californian, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), with $293.4 million. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) places third at $238.8 million.

Issa, Harman and Kerry realized wealth gains of nearly 21 percent, 19.8 percent and 14.3 percent respectively.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Rep. Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) round the list of lawmakers who in 2009 recorded an average wealth of at least $100 million.

In the House, there are five Democrats and five Republicans among the 10 wealthiest members. On the Senate side, six Democrats and four Republicans rank among the top 10 wealthiest.

Outliers abound, however, such as Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.). Fallin (pictured left) had an average wealth in 2008 that amounted to a paltry $32,002. In 2009, it has jumped to nearly $3.6 million — an increase of 11,141 percent – thanks in large part to her getting married and sharing in her husband’s assets.

Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Joseph Cao (R-La.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also experienced between a 1,000 percent and 10,000 percent increase in their year-to-year average calculated wealth, as did Puerto Rico Del. Pedro Pierluisi. The reasons for such gains vary. Kennedy, for example, inherited significant assets from his late father, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Murphy purchased a valuable life insurance policy.

Communications at OpenSecrets.Org

The American people need a change, not millionaires who connect to only 20% of the population (the top 20% of the wealth bracket makes more than $1 million). This is ridiculous, why do tax payers submit themselves to this nonsense? American humans deserve better. NOW

My sentiments of how to implement REAL change in Congress have been expressed via commenter Dconway5:

Congressional Reform Act of 2010
1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
A. Two Six year Senate terms
B. Six Two year House terms
C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year House terms

2.  No Tenure / No Pension:
A congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund moves to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans.

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

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

7. Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.
The American people did not make this contract with congressmen, congressmen made all these contracts for themselves