Vilsack calls on King to return pay raises
June 11th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
Democratic congressional candidate Christie Vilsack says her opponent — Republican Steve King — should return the pay raises he has gotten since being elected to congress in 2002. “A service member in Iowa makes about $48,000 a year,” Vilsack says. “I’m a public school teacher. If I were still teaching I’d be making about $50,000 and Steve King makes $178,000 a year and for people struggling in the fourth district, I think that’s a considerable sum.” Vilsack misspoke. The current salary for members of congress is 174-thousand dollars. King’s salary has increased nearly 20-thousand dollars since he took office in January of 2003.
“At the same time he has not voted for bonus pay for our service members; $1500 is all they asked for,” Vilsack says. King has said he deserves his pay raises because actions he’s taken as a member of congress have saved taxpayers billions of dollars. “To decide that you should vote yourself a pay raise and then actually say that you deserve it is not right,” Vilsack says, “so I think he should give it back.” King’s campaign accuses Vilsack of “misleading voters in a desperate attempt to distract them” from her own policy positions. According to King’s campaign spokesman, King has never voted to increase his pay on a stand-alone vote. The one time there was an opportunity to cast a vote on pay raises alone, King voted to freeze his pay. Vilsack says if she’s elected to congress, she’ll give any pay raises back to the U.S. Treasury until the federal budget is balanced. Vilsack made her comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television. Vilsack and King are facing off to represent the new fourth congressional district which includes most of northwest Iowa as well as the cities of Ames and Mason City.