Larry Kissell's First Official Act has Bipartisan Appeal

Larry Kissell has decided on his first act as a congressman. He has pledged to decline the pay increase that went into effect during the final days of the 110th Congress.

Congressman-elect Kissell has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 5087, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas that will revoke the $4,700 COLA increase for members of the U.S. House. According to the Congressman-elect Kissell:

During these difficult economic times, it just isn't right for Congress to give itself a pay increase while so many people are struggling to make ends meet, and so many others are out of work altogether. Most people work for years at a time without a pay raise, and most people in our district right now are just trying to hang on. It is a time of belt tightening for all of us, Congress included.

The pay increase is automatic unless a bill is passed revoking it. If the bill doesn't pass Kissell has pledged to refuse or donate the pay increase.

Not bad for a first official act.



Smart move


I support COLA, more so for

I support COLA, more so for the judiciary than for Congress. However I think the COLA is more appropriate for people who do not come from lucrative professions previous to coming to Congress.

noble, but why?

I do not begrudge public servants their pay, and I don't think we should expect bargain-basement public servants. Public service does demand sacrifice. You don't do it to gt rich. But, you get what you pay for, and I'd rather we, as taxpayers, pay for it, rather than public service attracting people more inclined to follow the Blagojevich approach.

One thing that would be a good development would be for Congress to FINALLY delink judicial salaries from congressional ones. Every time they nobly decline their COLA or any real pay increase, they further weaken the judiciary's ability to attract and keep top-notch legal talent. Something is wrong when a Federal judge, who is supposed to be at the apex of his or her legal career, is making substantially less than some first year associates.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Think about it this way

Companies everywhere are cutting people and cutting executive compensation. Their leadership teams have failed to produce the value they're expected to produce.

Congress (along with the president) have failed, too. I don't like to carry business-government metaphors too far, but if Congress were a business, it's board of directors would slash compensation by 30% at the very least.

I agree about judicial appointments.

As you can see,

the corporation thing was on my mind as well. ;)

Show me a company

that limits management compensation to $130,000 per year, and I won't complain if they up it by 4% either.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

It's not the money, it's the principle

As long as Congress remains disconnected with the realities of America, they're going to continue to operate from a surrealistic perspective. It may be a bad analogy, but we have numerous examples of CEO's and other officers from private corporations who refuse to consider how well their company is doing when they award themselves pay raises and bonuses.

Well, Congress runs the company that is America, and this company is in dire straights. People are losing their jobs all over the place, and many of the ones who still have a job are working fewer hours and/or losing other benefits. Everybody's suffering during this time, and Cost Of Living Allowances have been put on the shelf for the most part. Congress should put theirs' on the shelf, too.

Larry feels the people's pain

Economically this is a symbolic gesture but it shows Larry is thinking of his constituents and how they are feeling now.

Keeping the influence of money out of politics how exactly?

By not paying our legislators with public money?

I suppose that opposing the COLA in a year when so many citizens are not earning more makes some sense, but I think that we should adequately compensate Congress, partly to reduce temptations from other sources.

Remember, if Ralph Nader opposes automatic pay raises for Congress, they can't be all bad!

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Yes but if you're not

Yes but if you're not independently weathly how can they afford to live in Washington, D.C. without resorting to living in bad sections of town when rent is incredibly high priced. I think they Kay Hagan can afford an apartment (or buy a house for that matter) more than a recent N&O interview reveals but at the same time she states a fact: D.C. is more expensive than N.C. and not everyone comes from a wealthy background and shouldn't.

Except here's the kicker. The

Except here's the kicker. The Congress does not vote for their own COLA, its automatic. They have to vote for the Judiciary's COLA. However, I feel that salaries are very much in tune to some changes in this state. A state legislator can only receive $17,000 per year because its deemed as a part-time job (the lt. gov. was at one time also deemed a part-time job). But as you're required to do and attend more often there's a problem. Tell me how many professions allow you to leave your job on Monday to stay in Raleigh until Friday night? Not many. I want to be a teacher but there's no way I can teach and still be a state legislator because I would still need another job to maintain a suitable standard of living and teaching doesn't allow that. I mean there's a reason why there's one member of the legislature that openly states on her website that her occupation is (and I'm not joking) "housewife" and why so many others are lawyers or private businessmen and women. Another thing I think needs to be tweaked is the fact we have no residence for the lt. gov. but yet we have three official residences for the governor (Raleigh, Asheville, and somewhere on the coast). But we do have a guest residence for the governor. Doesn't make sense to me. But that's for a blog post soon on my end.

I agree...

This is an issue for everyone, but especially Young Democrats. How are we supposed to recruit young, talented Democrats to run for office when the vast majority of elected offices are "part-time"? Whether it's local or state, you must either be independently wealthy or have a spouse who receives a high income or make some sweetheart deal with an employer. I'm not sure what the answer is...I doubt there will be any support for making state legislators "full-time" jobs and paying them accordingly.

I'll admit, I do believe (perhaps naively) in "citizen-politicians" who spend a portion of their time in Raleigh and then living the rest of the year as a "regular" citizen. But we just have to ask ourselves whether the needs of the state demand a change in this or not.

But the issue of public compensation will continue to dishearten new, talented young people from running for office. Until then, the majority of elected offices at the local and state level will be from the wealthy (or, at least, upper-middle-class) and/or the retired.


This is not just an issue for people outside of Raleigh. Effectively, our system removes young professionals with families from service.

I live in Raleigh. Even if I could get elected, it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to keep up the demands of my practice while serving, and feeding my family would be a little difficult on $17,000 a year.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

A Very, Very, Very Smart Move by Congressman Kissell!

Congressman-elect Kissell has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 5087, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas that will revoke the $4,700 COLA increase for members of the U.S. House. According to the Congressman-elect Kissell:*Betsy

Good for him. A man of the people and a excellent way to start his image in Congress.......

Here's my 2 cents on Kissell's move

I want to give huge kudos to Congressman-elect Kissell's decision not to take the automatic COLA salary increase when he does begin his duties in congress. However, although his belief that efforts should be made to revoke automatic COLA increase in congresspeople's salary are commendable, I believe that this might be somewhat hasty.

There are a great many congresspeople that are very wealthy and aren't serving in congress for the purpose of achieving wealth in the first place. There are, however, others that serve that aren't wealthy and in D.C., the cost of having just an apartment as a "home away from home" is extraordinary. I have to say that I agree with those on this thread that say that we get what we pay for and that in many instances with many of these most important public servants, the extra money is a needed boost for them. If people can afford not to take the COLA increase, what better chance is there for them to be able to donate it to a cause of their choice...something that may help their constituents...each and every year. And, for those that do need the extra funds, they can take it without being made to feel guilty for doing so or having it be an issue for an opponent to raise to put them in a bad light. In the 6th district, Rep. Howard Coble, wealthy in his own right, has refused for a couple decades to take part in the very lucrative congressional retirement and even the "thrift savings plan" they have. It's just a little something he does because he knows he doesn't need it and the money can best be used in other areas. It's commendable, and so is Kissell's move.

I'm no demo...but this guy impresses me regardless of his party affiliation.

The best thinking is independent thinking.

The bill only revokes the COLA increase for this one year

Serving in Congress isn't cheap and while they make (I think) in 2008 $169,000 they have to provide their housing and I believe only their travel expense is covered. This is a huge move for someone like Congressman Kissell, but it isn't a permanent revocation and will seem to some like a token gesture. When you price out living in two places, with D.C. being one of those places, it is obviously not a token gesture for many elected officials.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


My point exactly. We're in agreement..'magine that !

The best thinking is independent thinking.

Now, if only the NCGA could get a pay increase ...

That would be the day.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks