Political Radar

5 percent

April 9th, 2013

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced Tuesday that she will be voluntarily giving up 5 percent of her congressional pay during the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Congressional pay was not part by the federal cuts.

From Gabbard:

Congress failed to come to a balanced agreement to prevent the arbitrary, across-the-board cuts that both parties agreed would be detrimental to our middle-class families and our country.

During the recent district work period, I visited Pearl Harbor Shipyard and met with workers who shared with me the hardship their families are facing due to these mandatory furloughs. The furloughs are also forcing delays that impact their ability to maintain our Navy’s readiness. Our civilian shipyard employees are among the many Hawai‘i families who are affected by these cuts.

I cannot in good conscience stand by while our seniors, children, middle-class families, and military bear the brunt of these arbitrary cuts; we must share in the sacrifice.  I will continue to return five percent of my pay until the sequestration cuts are repealed and we find common ground for a smart, balanced solution to reduce our deficit.

Readers might remember that Gabbard's father, state Sen. Mike Gabbard, once declined to accept a controversial pay raise for state lawmakers.

14 Responses to “5 percent”

  1. Especially Incognito:

    I don't see any republicans putting their money where their mouth is.

  2. Recce:

    Maybe you should change your name to “Especially Ignorant.” For your edification:

    U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are returning 20% of their salaries.

    U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) has never accepted his Senate salary. Since taking office in 2007, his salary has gone directly to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga which distributes it to various charities.

    U.S. Representative Scott Rigell (R-VA), since taking office in 2011, has declined federal health care and pension benefits and has returned more than $100,000 of his salary back to the U.S. Treasury.

    U.S. Representative Chris Gibson, R-NY, 19th District, has returned his annual $68,000 military retirement pension every year since elected to Congress in 2011 so as not to be a “double-dipper.”

  3. Leeward Joe:

    It looks to me like Representative Gabbard might be gearing up for a run against Senator Schatz in 2014.

  4. Sayer:

    Well I think it's a good gesture...I think all our Congress members should do the same; at least Hawaii's delegation.

  5. Ainaloa:

    I'm really concerned about the effects these furloughs will have on our military and on Hawaii...it's good Tulsi is bringing attention to this issue. Work it out, Congress!

  6. Mike:

    Nice gesture, but shouldn't it be 20% to be consistent with what federal employees are actually facing?

  7. Manoak:

    I voted for her but I have been deeply disappointed. Now, I hear she wants to run for the Senate. Talk about blind ambition.

  8. Kolea:

    Let's see. Tulsi salary as a City Council member was slightly less than $60,000. When she got elected to Congress, her pay jumped up to over $170,000. She is now willing to give back 5% as a sign of "shared sacrifice" with the austerity budget being imposed by the Federal Government?

    She spent 100s of thousands of dollars to get elected. That 5% is a helluva better investment than if she had to buy a TV ad to attain the same favorable publicity.

    I am not looking for a cheap, publicity stunt from our congressional leaders. I want them to hold the line against Obama's plan to cut Social Security and Medicare. The reason our government is suffering from a budget crisis is because taxes on high income people have been radically cut over the past couple of decades so they are at the lowest point in modern history!

    An over-paid, under-experienced congresswoman giving back 5% of her pay is a joke. Worse, it is an insult because it is meant to send the signal that we ALL need to share in the sacrifices. No, we are NOT all SHARING in the sacrifices. Some of the wealthiest are doing quite well. Make them pay their fair share and stop cutting services for the rest of us.

    Bad enough she voted for the Ryan Budget!

  9. kamaaina808:

    Congressional salaries should NOT have been exempt from the sequestration. Gabbard - as well as the other politicians who do this - are doing the right thing, and I applaud that.

    It's important and even honorable for Gabbard, and any other politician that has a finger on the pulse of the nation, to put their money where their mouth is. Hope they all follow suit - it might help restore some confidence the public has lost in their elected officials.

  10. Kolea:


    Tulsi had her salary jump up 300% in one year. She then decides it would be a good gesture to give back 5% of her salary. OK. I won't reject the money. But let's be honest. She was giving up about $8,000 in exchange for a boost to her public image designed to win support from the voters. It was a shrewd marketing move. You want to view it as "honorable"?

    And what is the larger, symbolic message she is sending (separate from the self-serving campaign message)? Here is the narrative she is reinforcing: "The US government is suffering a serious budget crisis and we all need to 'tighten our belts" and 'share the sacrifice.' If I can do this, so can the rest of you." That message is BS.

    The sacrifice is NOT shared. The budget crisis is the direct result of slashing taxes on higher income people from a marginal tax rate of 92% in the 1950s to the high 30s now and corporate taxes dropping to a negligible part of collections today.

    If Tulsi fights hard for a more progressive tax structure, that will make her "honorable" in my book. Absent that kind of courage, this gesture remains exposed as a cheap campaign stunt. And yeah, $8,000 is cheap if anyone take this seriously.

  11. Lokahi:

    Honesty trumps experience in my book. And though the gesture is largely symbolic, it shows her solidarity with the party leadership, and with President Obama. And why should only politicians be sacrificing part of their paychecks? If all Americans who are able to followed their example, and donated a small percentage of their income, it would go a long way toward healing the rifts in this country.

  12. Especially Incognito:

    "Maybe you should change your name to “Especially Ignorant.” For your edification:"

    Knew passing of gas would linger. Seems that Reece knows what it is talking about from its experience. Elephant in the room.

  13. Especially Incognito:

    Seems I hit a nerve and will continue to chisel away.

    20% each month? Seems not.
    elephants don't need the salaries since they get donations
    from the rich.
    Edification is just another form of assumption and since reece
    did not make original comments, it is plagiarism.

    Donating to charity is tax deductible. So what?

    Seems reece does not know that I as a tax payer pay for both salaries and get diddly from republicans.
    reece is the genious in rope a dope.

  14. Goober:

    Where's recce's backup? a grease?

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