Heck Introduces Bill to Protect the American Taxpayer
Bill gives Members option to forego congressional pensions
WASHINGTON - Amid calls for Washington to lead by example and tighten its own belt on spending decisions, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) has introduced legislation that could potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars by allowing Members of the House of Representatives to opt-out of the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Since 1984, Members of Congress have been automatically enrolled under FERS, but could choose to opt out of the program. However, in 2003, a provision in the Legislative branch appropriations bill eliminated the ability of House members to opt-out. Rep. Heck's bill, H.R. 5951, simply restores the ability for Members to opt out of this program.
"With an approval rating under 20%, it is clear that Congress must continue to restore accountability in the eyes of our constituents and we should not require them to continue to support Members that wish to decline to participate in FERS," Rep. Heck said. "This bill simply gives Members the option to forego a congressional pension and save the American people some money."
Congressman Heck was a co-sponsor of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act which holds Members of Congress, the Executive Branch, and their staff accountable to insider trading laws. The STOCK Act became law in April.
In addition, Rep. Heck voted in favor of H.R. 3835, a bill to freeze pay for Members of Congress and federal employees through 2013. H.R. 3835 passed the House of Representatives on February 1, 2012, and is awaiting further action by the Senate.
The House of Representatives voted to cut its own operating budget for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. However, Rep. Heck voted against the 2013 Legislative branch appropriations bill, H.R. 5882, on the grounds that it did not cut enough.
For calendar year 2011, Rep. Heck returned almost 10% of his office budget to the U.S. Treasury. A USA Today report ranking member office spending ranked Congressman Heck 398 out of 435 in total office expenditures.
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