U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today introduced the Pay Cut for Congress Act that would cut his pay and that of all members of Congress by 20 percent.
"Congress failed to address sequestration, which threatens Border Patrol agents with salary cuts of up to 40 percent," Barber said today. "It is only right that those of us in Congress share the pain of those agents, defense civilian employees and other federal employees who have been hit in their wallets because of Congress' failure to act."
Barber was a strident critic of sequestration, the irresponsible, across-the-board budget cuts mandated when Congress failed to reach agreement on a plan to reduce the debt and deficit.
Sequestration led the Department of Homeland Security to announce furloughs for Border Patrol agents one day every two weeks and steep reductions in overtime. Taken together, that would cut the pay of agents on the Southwestern border by up to 40 percent.
Barber subsequently supported a stopgap spending bill that led DHS to delay the furloughs and overtime reduction while re-evaluating its budget options. Barber has called on DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to drop consideration of pay and overtime cuts for Border Patrol agents.
Although Barber cited sequestration as the most recent example of Congress' inability to tackle significant issues, he also said his colleagues have failed to pass a bipartisan budget plan, failed to reduce the debt and deficit and failed to reform the U.S. Postal Service.
This is not the first time that Barber has expressed frustration at the pace of work in Congress. Several times he has opposed House adjournment to force members to stay in Washington to get work done.
In February, just days before sequestration went into effect, he voted against adjournment, saying: "We owe our communities a budget - one that balances new revenues, eliminates duplication and eliminates ineffective programs and allows vital services to continue. We should not recess tomorrow. We should stay here and do our jobs."