Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Congressman Ben Quayle - Why I Opted Out of the Congressional Pension Plan

Dear Friends,

Friday's unemployment report showed some modest signs of improvement, but it certainly wasn’t a cause for celebration. The economy needs to add significantly more jobs month after month in order to fully recover. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that the economy will grow at a more rapid rate going forward.

This week, House Republicans continued to pass pro-growth legislation to ease burdens on small businesses. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (H.R. 527) and the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 3010) will both force federal agencies to examine the cost of new regulations on American businesses and rewrite them in a more cost-effective manner.

Meanwhile, President Obama continued to put governing on the back burner out on the campaign trail. As the Wall Street Journal reported this week, the president has visited more swing states than any of his predecessors. A central part of the White House's strategy is to repeatedly criticize Congressional Republicans for not taking action on creating jobs, but this baseless criticism conveniently ignores the 20+ jobs bills House Republicans have sent to the Senate. Even Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) have called on the president to stop pointing fingers and start leading on jobs.


Also this week, I cosponsored two similar bills by Reps. Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) which eliminate the pension plan for Members of Congress. Upon signing on to the bills, I sent a letter to the chief administrative officer of the House asking that I immediately be removed from the House’s pension plan. With America facing a $15 trillion debt and a stubborn unemployment crisis, it's absurd that taxpayers should have to foot the bill for Members’ pension plans.


I was proud to join a number of my colleagues on the House Floor this past Wednesday in honoring Gabe Zimmerman. Gabe was Congresswoman Giffords’s director of community outreach and lost his life with five other Arizonans during the senseless act of violence of January 8. On Thursday, the House unanimously passed a resolution naming a room in the Capitol the “Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room.”

While the resolution will not ease the pain of those who knew and loved Gabe, it will ensure that his life is forever honored in the Capitol. Future Members of Congress and their staffs will always be reminded of Gabe’s story and the example he set for us all.

Ben Quayle

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