U.S. Senator Mark Begich is taking a stand that no one in Congress should be immune to budget cuts, as Begich is voluntarily returning a portion of his salary to the U.S Treasury Department and has begun furloughing his staff due to the sequester.
Begich has also cut his office budget by nearly $1 million over the past four years.
Some federal lawmakers have introduced bills to change the Constitution and legally authorize Congress to cut their own pay Begich, however, has decided that now is not the time to wait.
The state’s lone congressional Democrat said that we need to be making responsible cuts wherever we can and there is no reason that members of Congress shouldn’t feel the pinch like everyone else. Begich admitted that this move won’t solve our spending problem on its own, but he hopes it is a reminder to Alaskans that he is willing to make the tough cuts, wherever they may be, to get federal spending under control.
Begich’s staff began mandatory furloughs in mid-March and more than half of his staff will experience a cut in their salary this year.
Since coming to the Senate, Begich has voted against raising his own pay three times and repeatedly proposed cost-cutting measures.