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Rick Perry goes after Congress, judges

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Rick Perry is out to make Washington a little more like Texas, as he unveils proposals today to cut the pay of Congress, end lifetime appointments of all federal judges and revamp a bureaucracy that he believes hampers the economy.


The GOP presidential hopeful and Texas governor will outline his "Uproot and Overhaul Washington" plan today in Iowa, which hosts the lead-off caucuses in less than two months.

"Washington doesn't need a new coat of paint," Perry told an Iowa crowd Monday night, according to the Texas Tribune. "It needs a complete overhaul."

A fact sheet on the proposals is in Politico, which gave a preview.

At the heart of Perry's plan is one to reshape Congress into a part-time "citizen" Congress and cut each rank-and-file member's salary of $174,000 a year in half. In Texas, legislators meet for 140 days every other year and get paid $7,200 annually -- not including per diem for every day the legislature is in regular and special session.

Playing off a report aired Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Perry also seeks to criminalize insider trading by members of Congress. The governor cut a video spot on the topic on Monday, saying any congressman or senator who makes a stock profit from inside knowledge ought to go to jail. He also wants a 2/3 vote by Congress to increase taxes.

On judges, Perry will propose 18-year terms for all new federal judges including future appointees to the Supreme Court. Such a change would require an amendment to the Constitution. Texas judges are selected through direct, partisan elections.


On his third point, Perry will repeat his call for curbing federal regulations and eliminating three departments -- Commerce, Education and Energy. It was the last one that he famously blanked out on during the GOP presidential debate in Michigan.

Perry will also propose revamping the Department of Homeland Security, by privatizing the Transportation Security Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

In his re-election bid for governor last year, Perry played the anti-Washington theme to the hilt as he defeated Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP primary. The theme helped him solidify support within the anti-tax Tea Party movement, a constituency he hopes can help him in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

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