Leah Barkoukis

Last week President Obama signed an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, meaning that some federal workers like Vice President Biden, the Supreme Court and yes, members of Congress—will be getting a raise. The amounts—though varied—weren’t too significant in the grand scheme of things but it was the principle and timing of the matter that was troubling.

Now, The Weekly Standard is reporting that John Barrow (D-Ga), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, is moving to block the pay increase:

The move, led by John Barrow of Georgia, is to prevent the pay increase that Obama issued through an executive order from going into effect.

"At a time when American families face real hardship, it would be irresponsible to allow Congressional pay to increase," says Barrow in a statement. "Too many families face uncertainty in the New Year for Congress to get a bonus. Folks expect us to be looking out for them, not ourselves, and we should be working to lower taxes, cut spending, and get our nation's debt under control. Congress should get to work, and I urge the House leadership to do anything and everything possible to stop this pay increase for Members of Congress right away."

Barrow's office explains: "The Executive Order called for a pay increase for Members of Congress and other elected officials of 0.5 percent after March 27, 2013. During tonight's votes, Congressman Barrow will urge his colleagues to sign his letter to House Leadership urging them to bring legislation to the floor to block the pay increase."

Update: It's not just Barrow demanding that President Obama rescind the executive order that grants pay increases to members of Congress, among others. A host of other lawmakers are speaking out and taking action as well: 

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., introduced legislation Monday that would rescind the pay raises.

“I am calling on my colleagues in the House and Senate to rescind President Obama’s executive order that gives members of Congress a pay raise," she said in a statement. "This executive order was not requested by Congress and we should reject it. We have a spending problem in our country and we should be looking for areas to cut spending. At a time when families across the country are cutting back we should not increase government spending and add to the debt burden by giving members of Congress a pay raise. We need to begin with ourselves and I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort.”

Republican Sen. Rob Portman said now is not the time for bigger salaries in Washington -- at least not until the country can deal aggressively with its debt and deficit problems.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography