Our congresspeople seem to be unaware of the growing discrepancy between the wealthy and the rest of the nation. If they are aware, then it is worse; they manufactured it. The graft and corruption visible in the House and Senate is growing. Some progress has been made with laws about transparency in fund raising. But the congress still votes itself raises at the taxpayer expense with no regard for the constituency that is paying their exorbitant salaries. They also exert no effort to correct the growing no employment problem.
Our constitution gives power to the population in Article I, section 2:
“The House of Representative shall be composed of members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.”
This power is echoed in Article I, Section 3:
“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.”
This power is being neglected by the public (as seen in lower voter turnout) and ignored by the congress (exemplified in the Wall Street bailouts and laws encouraging job export to foreign countries). New efforts are being exerted to avoid “voter fraud” but simply serve to make the process harder on new and poor voters. The party in office to unjustly maintain power over the constituency typically perpetuates the worst cases of voter fraud (for example, Tammany Hall and Dade County) not the new or poor voters. We, the voters, decide who represents us.
This petition does NOT mean that the Congresspeople should not be paid. On the contrary, they should be paid for representing us, their constituency. This is to correct an undervaluation of the voters. Congress should not determine its own value, just the process of the voters to establish the value of the Congresspeople. We are the employer of the Congress. We pay the salary and we hire and fire them. This fact has been neglected in recent politics. Congress being paid and protected from arrest in the execution of their duties is guaranteed in Article I, Section 6, Paragraph 1:
“The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”
Amendment XXVII guarantees that any changes in the law will go into effect after the election:
“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.”
I am suggesting that the median household income of the constituency be held as the starting point of the salary, and travel to and from the home district and other travel, such as ambassadorial trips, as well as reasonable expenses (meals, housing, parking and gas) be kept in a voter pre-approved sub fund for our congresspeople’s use. This would require budget consciousness, like we have to have, and regular contact with us, the constituency. It would also require any modifications in travel and expenses have to come back to us, the ones paying the bill. Since we keep hearing about accountability from our congresspeople, it is time they hear from us.