Senate overwhelmingly votes to forgo $3,100 pay increase

NATION DIGEST

Nation Digest

October 19, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- Senators voted yesterday to forgo a $3,100 pay raise next year in a symbolic show of their resolve to spread the pain of financing at least some of the cost of reconstructing the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast. The measure passed 92-6, but the pay raise still will go into effect unless the House also votes to do without it. If it does, the savings would amount to about $2 million in a federal budget that, in the last fiscal year, totaled about $2.5 trillion.

While senators - many of whom are millionaires - found it easy to put off a projected 1.9 percent cost-of-living raise on their annual $162,100 salary, lawmakers were having a much harder time agreeing on what other spending cuts to make and by how much.

Maryland's two Democratic senators split on the measure, which was attached to the annual spending bill for the Treasury Department and other federal agencies. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski voted to skip this year's raise, while Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes voted against the pay freeze.

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