Column: If There’s No Raise for Seniors and Veterans, There Should Be No Raise for Congress
Our State is home to more than 107,000 seniors and more than 126,000 veterans. Our seniors and our veterans have been promised benefits and support after their careers in the workforce and service to our country. I believe it is absolutely critical that those promises are fulfilled.
Unfortunately, this year, our seniors and our veterans did not receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for those benefits, placing additional burdens on the budgets of hundreds of thousands of Mainers. Even though bureaucratic rules decided that there was no need for a COLA adjustment this year, we all know that prices nationwide are rising, and the cost of living keeps going up. Too often, though, the bureaucracy in Washington ignores reality and serves itself.
That is why I was proud to vote against a pay increase for Members of Congress. It would be irresponsible and immoral to deny an increase in benefits to our seniors and our veterans, and simultaneously increase our own personal salaries. This is an example of the immoral, self-serving largess that unfortunately is so common in Washington.
Politicians are elected to serve their constituents, yet too often it seems that they end up lining their own pockets, regardless of the financial hardships of their constituents. Public service is a privilege, not a gateway for career politicians to make fortunes by exploiting taxpayers for personal gain.
Every day I am working to reduce our Nation’s debt and rein in our out of control government spending. From day one in office, I chose not to accept the congressional health care benefits and thrift savings plan that cost our taxpayers. I’m here to give back, not take from the American taxpayer.
It’s not a Republican or Democrat issue; it’s an issue of financial responsibility. The federal government has a limited amount of tax income available, and it is completely unreasonable to take some of those scarce resources to pad our own pockets. If our veterans and seniors cannot receive a cost of living adjustment this year, why should our politicians receive a pay raise?
My priority here in the House of Representatives is to fight for the citizens of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Whether that means voting against an unethical pay raise for Members of Congress, or pushing to make sure Maine veterans and seniors are not denied the benefits that they were promised, I am working hard to bring common sense reform to a dysfunctional federal government.