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House members handed out bonuses to staffs during budget crisis

Thursday, May 26, 2011

congressional staffer

Even as deep federal budget cuts loomed at the end of last year, members of Congress from both parties paid taxpayer-funded bonuses to their staffs.

Overall, House members spent about $21.5 million more on their office payrolls for the fourth quarter of 2010, when bonuses are traditionally paid, than they spent for the average of the three previous quarters, according to LegiStorm, a Washington group that tracks congressional pay.

Defeated and retiring lawmakers paid an average bonus of about $4,000. Returning lawmakers paid an average $2,300, the group found.

The money came out of the average $1.5 million allocated to each office for expenses including salaries, travel and bottled water purchases — money that, if unspent at the end of the year, goes back to the Treasury. Some lawmakers have boasted of sending leftover funds from their office budgets to the Treasury to show their frugal ways.

Spokeswomen for Matsui and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) said that even with the bonuses, many of their staff members earned less than the average House salaries for their positions. Sanchez’s legislative director, for example, earned $66,305 last year, even with a bonus, less than the House average of $89,674 a year for the same job.

Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense said that while it was important for lawmakers to attract and retain top talent, “they have to be responsible stewards of the country’s checkbook. And while all the congressional staff bonuses don’t add up to a lot in the context of the federal budget, lawmakers have to keep in mind that many of their constituents are without salaries — much less bonuses — these days.”

Post Continues on www.latimes.com

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  • Elisa des Groseilliers

    I think it’s a disgrace that bonuses are given out at this particular time when our economy is so bad. It just goes to show that Washington is out of touch with the rest of us taxpayers. Shame on them

    • Dave Craddock

      Many voters are so incredibly stupid, it boggles the mind. Granted, a lot of the folks who voted for Obama and consistently vote for Democrats are looking for entitlements and handouts, but a portion of the Democratic voting crowd actually work for a living and hold responsible positions with some good companies, but they’re still idiots. To pay a staff a bonus when conditions are as they are is unconscionable, and every measure should be taken to reign these crooks in. Our only mechanism available is the voting process; we should take advantage of it.

    • ballotbox

      Lets get something clear here, A hand out is something the government gives out such as subsidies,grants,wellfare,bailouts etc, An entitlement is something your entitled to because you paid into it sand therfore are entitled to a benifit, There is a difference. Congress whats to cut entitlements and keep the give away programs, Does anyone else see something wrong with this kind if thinking?

    • am2sweet

      What the heck did they do that was great enough to get a bonus for??? My husband hasn’t gotten a raise in over three years and yet he’s working harder than ever. Where are these people coming from when they hand out bonuses because the aids bothered to show up for work? This is ridiculous. Our country is going downhill economically meaning it’s not a good time to hand out bonuses. Didn’t some companies get in trouble for handing out bonuses to their top guys? This is a case of do as I say and not as I do.

    • ballotbox

      It’s 1.5 million they all get to run their offices, they use it or lose it. Go figure!

    • ketrout

      THIS IS WRONG!!! I don’t care if the staffers did make less than other staffers, NO BONUSES should have been paid out. We have over 22 million TAXPAYERS out of work that need this congress to create jobs, not pay bonuses to their staffers!

      Obama, his administration and this Congress is truly out of touch with what the American public is going through!

    • Burek

      Republicans are also very bad.Republicans want to take from midlle class and give to the rich.Democrats also take from middle class but give to people who don’t want to have anything and to all illegals.In every case middle class is the looser!!!!

    • Randy131

      The timing is not the real disgrace. Obama and the Democrats threatened to not fully pay our military families, whose men and women were abroad fighting our wars, while handing out bonuses to their staff members in the comfort of Washington DC. They also threatened that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would not be paid for retirees, yet their staffers were to get their bonuses. Does that put in perspective Obama’s and the Democrats’ priorities, and show who they care the most about? And now Obama and the Democrats give us the big scare and threats if the debt limit isn’t raised. If the Republican politicians had half the guts of the American people they are suppose to represent, they would refuse to raise the debt limit and dare Obama and the Democrats to make good on those threats, I certainly would if I could.

    • SaneRepublican

      Funny, I didn’t hear you people complain when Wall Street executives were getting taxpayer backed bonuses.

      And when Obama spoke out against it, you people continued you’re usual “COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST/MARXIST” catcall because how dare Obama/the government tell Wall Street how to pay their executives.

      But I guess since the Wall Street bailout happened under Bush, it’s okay…..and when it’s not okay, then you criticize Obama for voting for it. LOL!!!

      Is it really to much to ask for a little consistency from you people? If taxpayer bonuses are bad, they should be bad forever everyone, including Republicans!

      You people are such a hypocritical joke!

    • One2Stupid

      Have you overdosed on “kool-aid? This and other sites like it went crazy about the bailouts. GM, AIG, Fannie & Freddie, etc. If you’re going to criticize, at least be honest!

    • SaneRepublican

      Too bad you can’t read. I was commenting on the bonuses given to Wall Street executives.

      But since you bring it up, actually, you people say a word against the bailouts while Dubbya was in the White House. Your silence was deafening. You didn’t start whining and complaining about bailouts until Obama took office.

      So as much as you want me to STFU or ESAD, I won’t. I’ll just continue to point out your hypocrisies.

    • http://Yahoo.com Thomas Martin

      sanerepublican, you did not hear because you hacve your head so far up obama’s ass your ears were covered.

      Now STFU cry baby.

    • .50BMG

      “sanerepublican” is an insane progressive troll. He needs to put his head back in and shut up.

    • Scott S.

      I’d like to see what each congressman, senator and even the president gave out for bonuses. No matter what the amount, that money could have been put to better use. Like put it back in the till.

    • ARMYOF69

      It’s a DISGRACE by giving out ANY BONUSES to government employees.
      Bonuses are traditionally paid out only in the private business sector, for performing above and beyond your pay scale.
      Since when do any government employees do that?
      They do NOT MAKE MONEY for the organisation they work for: WE THE PEOPLE.

    • http://Facebook Que Dub

      THEY ARE “SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING FOR US, BUT THEY ARE WORKING AGAINST US ” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • John

      We elect our Reps hoping they will represent us as they pledge to us before being elected. After their indoctrination to the CLUB we get the shaft.Their is a definite disconnect between we the people and our Reps once they are elected.This has been going on for a long time.Something STINKS.

    • http://Facebook Que Dub

      GOVERNMENT ALWAYS DID PAY GOOD FOR SH1TTY PERFORMANCE, OF WHICH THEY ALL ARE !!!!
      THIS IS SOP FOR THEM !!

      THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US !!!

  • http://patriotupdate SICK&TIRED OF THE B.S.

    when are the sheeple going to WAKE up ITS THERE MONEY THESE ASS HOLES ARE THROUGHING AROUND TO A BUNCH GOVERMENT INCOMPEDENTS!!

    • Are you Serious

      It seems pretty clear the answer is never!!!!!

  • Dntmkmecmoverther

    Oh my, I thought they were hard nosed on ‘bonuses’ handed out to failing organizations? Remember all the BS about bonuses in the private sector businesses who received bailout or TARP funds? How is this any different? I wanna hear Biden and Obummer go on record denouncing these bonuses just like they did with the private sector. Big FAT chance that will happen. I am totally disgusted…can you tell?

    • http://windowslive mary

      i agree with you dntmkmecmoverther we that are on social security haven’t had a cost of living raise sense obummer has been in.this really p——- me off too. I’m sick of them all.

  • Patricia L Brake-Ludwig

    ALL POLITICIANS AND ALL STAFF NEED SALARIES AND EXPENSES REDUCED BY 75%. YEP, LET THEM SACRIFICE TO PAY OFF DEBT. NO MORE GETTING RICH OFF TAXPAYERS.NO MORE FIRST CLASS.FLY ECONOMY OR JUST SLEEP IN OFFICE. DO WORK. GO HOME. WORK FOR SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. NO SPECIAL PENSIONS.NO SPECIAL HEALTH CARE AT ALL,INCLUDING PRES AND FAMILY.NO PRIVATE JETS EVER AGAIN,EXCEPT AIR FORCE ONE,ONCE A MONTH,ONLY ONCE A YEAR OVERSEAS.STAY HOME.QUIT EMBARRASSING US.FIX ECONOMY.DRILL HERE BY AMERICANS FOR AMERICA. NO MORE FOREIGN AID. NO CORPORATE WELFARE. NO 51% NO TAX POOR. ALL PAY FAIR,FLAT OR HUGE SALES TAX ONLY. SOMETHING THAT WILL WORK AND BE FAIRER. RAISE TARIFFS TO 60%.ELIMINATE MANY DEPTS WHO ARE INEFFECTUAL AND DUPLICATES AND WASTEFUL OR CLUELESS LIKE HOMELAND SECURITY, ED,ENERGY,COMMERCE,NLRB,IRS,EPA. BRING MILITARY HOME.GUARD OUR BORDERS.NO AMNESTY.NO DEBT CEILING RAISE.CUT SPENDING BY $3T. O IS CRAZY SPENDER,TAXER,LIAR,CROOK.

    • Rebecca Crainsmith

      Amen to all of that!

    • ketrout

      I could not have said it better! RIGHT ON!!!!

    • John

      Fat chance, we’re peasants….EAT CAKE…………..

  • rayz

    we need to make the politicions understand the cost of wasting our money. i think it’s almost to late, people do not understand. the politicions have isolated them selves from being held accountable. this is like cancer unless its irradicated it will grow and destroy us. approx. 1000 people our controlling, & destroying our country. think people.

  • Gordon

    This is the way government works. I worked at a National Lab for 15 years. Budget money that wasn’t used was just pissed away, “So they could ask for more the next year”. Hard to defend an increase, when you didn’t spend what you had. It really Sucks. I believe we need two things. “TERM LIMITS” and a “CONSERVATIVE CONSTITUTION” Party. And get rid of the crap that occupies Washington today.

    • USAF Chief Retired

      All government departments works this way, including the DOD. Everything inside the Beltway is a cesspool of Corruption. It’s easy when it’s someone else’s money.

  • Joyce

    These people have FORGOTTEN who they work for.
    I can understand why the ones voted out of office would give away the last of their budget….the last F**k you to the American public!!!!!!

    • John

      Joice, this what bogles my mind. These are our elected officials and they turn on us. I can’t figure it out, but something STINKS.

  • David McWilliams

    What are bonuses doing in government anyways, bonuses are for rewarding someone when productivity quotas are met. What productivity quotas do these people have to meet? more nanny state laws passed? Give me a break. If these people are worth so much if they were in private business, then they should go into private business, government jobs aren’t meant to make someone rich – it’s called civil SERVICE for a reason, because they SERVE. if anyone in government deserves a bonus, it’s our military, not some bureaucrat who gets to sit in a nice air-conditioned office with a nice cushy leather chair.

    • stRanger

      Bonuses shouldn’t be given for meeting production quotas, that’s what pay checks are for. Bonuses should be given for exceeding quotas.

      When do government employees exceed any sort of quota? I’d like to see any sort of written policy on the shoveling out of bonus money. I’d bet it would make a real stand-up comedy sketch.

      Government bonuses are nothing less than another under-the-table method of vote buying.

    • David McWilliams

      stRanger, you’re right I should have said “exceeding quotas”.

    • amyrfisher@verizon.net

      That’s why Romney who understands this principle would be so good for us. It didn’t take him long to turn the Olympics from red to black.

    • John

      Yeah, who the hell is going to investigate this scam. Our government is latent with corruption. Take care of yourselves people, because the shit is ready to hit the fan,BIG TIME. God Bless America.

  • Howard

    the government hands out 60-90,000 salaries for everyone, even here in ohio – toll booth collectors! Total BS. These people dont deserve bonuses ontop of huge pensions, 3 wks per year sick pay that ACCRUES!, all these bs holidays that most in the private sector work on – mlk day, presidents day, and rich vacations…..California paid out 300 MILLION last yr of accrued sick and vacation pay to retirees! virtually every state, and federal govt – if they were businesses would be forced into bankruptcy and have qualified accounting opinions as to whether or not they can continue as a going concern…. we taxpayers are all screwed!

  • stRanger

    Political arrogance, lack of morality and disconnect. These blood sucking ghouls actually see nothing wrong with this.

    Take a look at the overt slap in America’s face when Congress passed a law exempting their own kids and pals from having to repay student loans.

    The usurped Obama Regime is the MOST corrupt administration in US history. However,it could not exist without the active participation of Congress – the second most corrupt entity in US history.

  • Howard

    All good comments by everyone here – they spend OPM and then assholes like Byrd get buildings and roads named after them. Could easily get rid of 50% of govt employees and 80% of worthless departments….

  • Pat Cole

    Gee, some of these staffers only made $66,000 instead of $89,000 – i only wish I made at least $60,000. But then I am a taxpayer and I don’t count except to pay for this corrupt government. Both parties are shameful. Let’s remember when it is time to vote – turn over the whole houe and senate and the white house!

  • nh4x4jeep

    Perhaps they should get the same 2% raises that social security recipients get.

    Or Perhaps their raise should be linked to the CPI:

    “Your Social Security benefits are protected against inflation. By law, they increase when there is a rise in the cost of living. The government measures changes in the cost of living through the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI has not risen since the last cost of living adjustment was determined in 2008. As a result, your benefits will not increase in 2011.”

    • Beverly Martin

      Did Social Security recipients get the cost of living increase this year? Last year?
      At the state level, who is paying for the wonderful breakfast spreads I’ve seen given to our committee members at hearings? Taxpayers drive to testify,take off work but our elected officials who are doing their job get the goodies! Nobody every paid for my breakfast or any other meal when I taught school. The money is wasted yet unquestioned.

    • http://windowslive mary

      No we haven’t had a cost of living raise sense obummer took office. I think they should get the pay the troops get and give those precious troops their 8 figure pays. I live on 946.oo a month if i didn’t have a couple cleaning jobs I would be on the street corner.I’m 61 and can’t do a lot of what I used to. we need to get him out there.

    • http://PatriotUpdate Jean M Wilson

      SS reciepients have NOT received ANY increase for the last 2 years. Where do you get your info that we get a 2% raise?

    • John

      NO COLA INCREASE FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS, AND LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, YOU PROBABLY WILL NEVER SEE A PENNY INCREASE EVER AGAIN, BECAUSE WE ARE BROKE DON’T YOU KNOW BROKE,AND NO MORE CREDIT FROM CHINA. SO GET A JOB IF YOU CAN.IF YOU DON’T OWN A FIREARM TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY,MY CONDOLENCES.MAY GOD ALMIGHTY HELP US ALL.

  • Ernest

    I’ve suported the government and kept my word as to what I would or wouldn’t do for over 40 years , I have been a faithful employee for that long also . I didn’t ever get a 4k bonus even as seveince pay and had I, I would give it back as I would feel they fed ,clothed and put a roof over my family for as long as I worked for them ,they cotributed enough.Politions and their staffs are groly overpaid and the politions can be fired and still get a pension .A good argument for term limits would be if you loose your congressitional seat you lose your pension cause the moron arn’t going to inact term limits EVER

    • hard rock miner

      Boy oh boy Ernest, I hope you were just typing fast and your spell check is broken. Good for you saying you would give bonus money back. I have never seen it happen, but the thought is wonderful.

  • http://adrianvance.blogspot.com Adrian Vance

    How much more evidence do we need of the arrogance of these people? Congress is totally corrupt. It is too bad the 99% rotten eggs are giving all the rest a bad reputation.

    For analysis, science and humor see The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com Now on Kindle.

  • http://aol bluecb13

    Could we get a list of those that did pay these excorbitant bonus’s. It’s time for them to go.

  • E.B. Myers

    So what are we going to do about all this corruption,just moan,groan and bitch about it, To each other?
    I live on Social Security as many do, and didn’t get a raise,the feds said there was no inflation. Yeah Right! Fuel is 50% higher,food is 34% higher,cotton clothing is 400% higher.Plus,Plus,Plus.
    Did they get a raise(bonus) to offset costs of living, or for doing a GOOD JOB ? GAG!
    And no, S/S is not an entitlement,it’s a savings acct, that “I” donated to for 50 years.
    Why do politicians need staffers anyway, to fetch them a bottle of water and/or wipe their ass? What is the purpose of staffers?
    Maybe just to fetch for their masters.

  • Thomas

    Welcome to the New World Order – the U.S. must be made to fail before the North American Union can arise. Simply bankrupt it. Crazy conspiracy? Research it. You might be surprised to see WHO really runs the nation…

  • http://www.mygc.com/pattynavarrette PattyAnn

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    We need to stand together with ONE VOICE and demand that ALL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES bring to the forefront of their platform the constitutionality of idiOt's right, or lack thereof, to run for the office of president. It is THEIR JOB and THEIR RESPONSIBILITY and THEY HAVE FAILED US ALREADY on this incredibly important issue.

    We all must put the pressure on EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

    **If they will not, then we make it perfectly clear that we WILL NOT vote for them in any election…!!**

    They need to receive hundreds of thousands of letters, phone calls, emails, etc. The RNC needs to receive the same. Short, concise statements that clearly and simply spell it out:

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    Hundreds of thousands of letters, emails, phone calls simply stating this to every one of the republican candidates AND the RNC.

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    TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO PASS THIS SIMPLE MESSAGE ON AND ON AND ON! WE will make the difference. This is so simple ~ do not let this stop here! Keep this going!

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  • Cape Fear III

    I work for the State of North Carolina where, because of budget concerns and a state constitution that does not permit my stae to carry a deficit (like many other states in the union), we have not had a raise, let alone bonus, for three years and non will be coming this year. We also don’t have collective bargaining. What we do have is pride in our state and we’re thankful that we have jobs. Federal employees: quit your complaining and your bonuses and corruption and work for a living like the rest of us.

    • TooToo

      I work for the State of California (for 15 years now) and haven’t had an increase for more than 5 years – none of us have! And in previous years where we did have increases, they were no more than 2-3%. I made more money in private industry where we get paid for the quality and quantity of our work!

    • ARMYOF69

      Yes, but I bet you now have a nice pension to look forward to, where the civilian working for a business has none coming. And your pension will be paid for by any remaining,living idiotic American taxpayer that DOES NOT WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

    • John

      So why don’t you go private?

  • http://aol.com sean murrey

    a waste of tax payer money what a bunch of crooks.

  • robert l craft

    i cant see why they get money of ours to keep up there offices and bottle water.they darn sure make enough money,why cant they pay out of there pocket for all of that.and about bonuses it should not be any bonuses.they should get payed just like the military.

  • james w. johnson

    just go to your web site. type in;
    BARACK OBAMA’S KENYAN BIRTH CERTIFICATE
    it is an honest certificate.
    james w. johnson

  • Mountaine

    They make enough to buy their own lunch !
    I haven’t seen my 2% in two years !
    They haven’t even made a budget yet and their paying themselves ??!?!??!?!? WTF ?!?!?!?

  • m8685k

    Where is the GOP leadership? I have not heard one thing from them…these guys are no different than before when will the American people wake-up and stop just voting for whoo ever they are told to …

  • ARMYOF69

    Insanity….is …doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.
    VOTE : Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin.
    no more RINOs PLEASE…PLEASE…PLEASE

  • John

    THEY WANT US TO EAT CAKE. PEASANTS