A good friend, Joel Brame, forwarded the following email message to me yesterday. It is kind of a radical idea, but I agree that it would fix much of what ails Congress today, and return that august body to its original intent – to represent the people of the United States, rather than serving themselves and special interests.
I am sending this to virtually everybody on my e-mail list and that includes conservatives, liberals, and everybody in between. Even though we disagree on a number of issues, I count all of you as friends. My friend and neighbor wants to promote a "Congressional Reform Act of 2010." It would contain eight provisions, all of which would probably be strongly endorsed by those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
We need to get a Senator to introduce this bill in the US Senate and a Representative to introduce a similar bill in the US House. These people will become American heroes.
Congressional Reform Act of 2010
1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
I have long thought that politicians get so wrapped up in the prestige and power of their offices that they soon forget what it is like to be a common citizen. It indeed takes an exceptional person to not succumb to the the trappings of political power. It is tragic that the Congress has progressively set itself up as an elite body that only superficially answers to the voice of the people.
I like the ideas this congressional reform proposes. Now, we just need to figure out how to get people with the guts to put it into law.
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