It’s Time to Change Congress
It is time to get serious about reforming Congress. It is time to recognize that real change is requiring Members of Congress to abide by these reforms, not just hoping that they will choose to do the right thing. We need an institution that works for everyone, not just the people who can hire expensive lobbyists. The fact is that we cannot start solving big problems until we get to the heart of the problem: Congress itself. Reforming Congress will help shift the focus away from special interests and towards working together for common-sense solutions.
Getting Congress Back to Work:
End Free Perks for Members of Congress: Members of Congress are eligible for many free perks that are not accessible to average Americans. If elected I would end perks that include: free parking at airports, a $3,000 income tax deduction, first class airline tickets, free car leases for any member, and free travel for members and their spouses to foreign countries paid for by special interest groups.
Cut Congressional Pay and Benefits: Serving as a Member of Congress has become a plum job where you get paid 3 times the national average and work 3 days a week in Washington. We need to cut and freeze congressional salaries until they pass a comprehensive deficit reduction plan, and make them work a full week.
Banning Members of Congress from Being Lobbyists: Many former Members of Congress have traded on their government service by using the connections they made in office to make millions from high priced lobbying associations. Their access and influence makes it even more difficult for the average citizen to get involved and make a difference. As a Member of Congress, I will introduce legislation banning all Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.
End Taxpayer Funded Campaign Mailers: Every year Members of Congress spend hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of our tax dollars on campaign style mailers in a blatant attempt to help them get reelected. If Members of Congress want to send these mailers, they should pay for them out of their campaign accounts. I’ll introduce legislation to end this practice and ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely.
Follow the Money:
Ban Secret Outside Money in Politics: The Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed the formation of SuperPACs has fundamentally changed how elections in this country are run. Small groups of wealthy individuals or corporations should not be able to decide an election based off of one check. We need to require all groups to disclose their donors and get rid of those anonymous outside groups who help decide elections without transparency.
Post Congressional Budgets Online: Our taxpayer dollars are used to pay for the office budgets of every Member of Congress. What that money is used for should be public knowledge. I will require that every member posts a detailed office budget on their congressional website at the beginning of each year.
Lobbyist Reform: Lobbyists are still far too influential in our policy making. We need to force those that profit from Washington insider information to register online. Contributions made by lobbyists and political action committees should have to be reported online within 24 hours. Furthermore, any meeting between lobbyists and Members of Congress should be posted online.
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