by Tom Pauken    Mon, Nov 21, 2005, 03:01 pm

Members of Congress gave themselves a $3,100 pay increase last week. This hikes their annual salary to $165,200 per year.

A few years ago, Congress changed the process for how votes on pay raises for its own members were handled. Previously, Congressmen had to vote affirmatively to give themselves a pay raise. Under the new procedure they automatically give themselves a pay raise every year unless Congress itself votes to block the raise. There is no longer an up or down vote on pay raises for Congressmen. Unless a member offers an amendment to an existing piece of legislation stopping the raise (which rarely happens), the raise is automatic.

We have huge budget and trade deficits; Americans are increasingly strapped financially with high levels of mortgage and credit card debt. Our military is overextended, and troops in Iraq are facing a difficult challenge.

What kind of signal does this send to the American people when Congressmen seem more interested in taking care of themselves rather than setting an example for the country by freezing their own salaries?

Isn't it about time that someone resurrected the movement for Congressional term limits?

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