Email Responses from Pay Cuts for Congress Petition

People from around the country have poured their heart out to me, a complete stranger, in response to my petition. Not only did I not expect hundreds of thousands of people to stand with me, I have been totally taken off guard by the sheer number of emails I have received. With each new note, my heart breaks and it sings. The frustration, anger and even suspicion people have shared with me has been offset by a continued resilience that is a core American trait. 

The question, "What do we do?" has yet to find an answer. However, as we seek that answer, let me anonymously share with you some of the most profound emails I have received. 

Rep Russell,
Your petition is one of the few ways anyone can get their voice heard on this important issue.  I'm a fairly senior GS, so I can't just walk away for a day.  Here's part of my Facebook post that accompanied the link to the petition:
"To put this budget thing into perspective, when the President signs the order to start sequestration, he is basically ordering me to work one day less per week and not get paid (a 20% reduction in my net income). Oh by the way, I still have to get everything done so I just have 8 less hours (well really 10 because my days are longer) to do it (and lose money... did I mention that). I'm still responsible for getting my job done.

Congress, however, went home today (1 March) because they didn't want to fight (they DID get paid for today). They have not done their job and will not have to face furlough or pay cuts. 

So, my family takes a 20% cut in pay and I have to work harder across 4 days to get the same amount of work done as a 5 day week. Congress doesn't have to do what we elected them to do (pass a freakin' budget) and they not only get full pay, they will also enjoy a full retirement (100% of their current pay beginning the day they walk out the door). Trying to figure out the checks and balances here."
Some of the more junior Feds are planning to just stop work and let the job go undone for a day, as they should since a lot of them live paycheck-to-paycheck.  That will, however, put us further behind or put the onous on the few military in their shops. 
Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you in this fight.  There are a lot of Federal employees, like me, who took jobs with our Government to serve our country.  Private sector is much more lucrative, but we genuinely want to make a difference with our skill sets.

Hello Rep. Russell,

Thank you for responding to my comments.  I will share your response with my colleagues.

Because I work in Defense accounting, all employees must have stellar credit to keep their positions.  Our incomes enable us to pay our debts which result in our ability to continue to hold these positions. With each missed pay period we will move closer to losing what we struggle to maintain: our daily investment to support our warriors and their families  around the world as well as our own livelihood. As you know many people are cynical about any resolution before the furlough will take effect.  I pray that we will not be out for a long period of time.

Thank you. I have been a conservative Republican for 57 years and can"t believe people like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul and the new Rep from KY who does everything Rand Paul tells him. I voted for the guys, last time, but  because of the Tea Party we will never see the White House for the next 16 years. No matter how mant times you write, these people they really believe that we're all dummies and their smarter.
I have become a Democrat for the first time. I will sign your petition. God bless Rep. Duckworth and you.

Dear Rep. Russell,
I appreciate your petition. I was wondering how much of a pay cut Rep. Duckworth took and have you also taken one? Thank you for your time!
My Response: 
As for me - I'm not in Congress, but I have introduced a pay cut requirement should we end up in a State Shutdown, which is currently being debated in the media sadly:

So, I don't read that you followed suit.

Hi Diane,
I changed my mind.  I won't support you for Congress. You should run for president!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Besides getting a jolt of hope I really enjoyed getting to know you.
If you ever make it out to Fort Wayne, you have a ride in a 91 Cavalier awaiting you. With the top down  hopefully, and if it isn't, at least you won't get wet.
Please send me anything you're working on. And I'll do the same.

Thank you for the note updating the progress even though it's only minimal. Anytime you need support when it comes to banging a few heads in Washington that seem to be immune to what individuals go through....count on my support.
Exiled Mainer living in MI.

Rep. Diane Russell

                Thank you for attempting to truly represent the American people! Why should the American people be forced to bear the brunt of the down economy and the effects of elected officials not doing their job. This is happening while our government is sending money, food and aid to countries that would love for our system to fail! I might add that while this has been occurring the government has increased in size and until now not suffered any reduction in pay or benefits! The Government will fail if it doesn’t manage itself and live within its means!

 Thank you for your efforts,

A Very Unhappy Citizen

Showing 9 reactions

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  • commented 2013-04-05 15:04:33 -0400
    as an added statement. Congress has not earned a penny. Why do they get paid anything?
  • commented 2013-04-05 15:02:21 -0400
    if you can live on 780.00 a month, then i can commend you. I don’t believe that all gov. workers should cut their pay. I am surviving on far less than 21,000 a year and so are many people. I want to work, and cannot pull myself up to even get a car that would help me hunt, once i am finished with the final med. treatments. I do think about poverty, everyday. It is ruining this country. noone has the money to buy, thus the spiral continues to go down.
  • commented 2013-04-05 14:34:58 -0400
    Dear PeggyAnn,
    Sorry to hear your story, but even before the Republican Tea Party controlled the house, salary and help (all workers are entitled to) were inadequate. We, the people have to boot them out with our votes and keep them there for the longest, the time to compensate people who took the heat and the hit for close to three decades if not more. Nowadays nobody can survive with less than 21,000 a yea. Think about it. Our claims are way to low in the first place. Good Luck
  • commented 2013-04-05 12:33:25 -0400
    Rep. Dianne Russell,
    To Our President,
    Mr. President, four more have followed you. You are a brave man. Not that 5% will not hurt you or cause much loss to you, but it does make you stand out to those who are against you! I wrote yesterday to congressman Micheal Michaud, of Maine, stating that I lost everything do to an illness that caused me to live on disability…780.00 a month. Imagine that for an income. Thru a series of operations, I will be free to work again, however, once living below poverty level for 8 years, I cannot pull myself out. I asked him for a job. He hasn’t given up any of his income. do you suppose he would hire a Smith College grad, a Mainer thru and thru, to help those who were hit like me? hmmmm. We shall see. PeggyAnn Doak M.Ed
  • commented 2013-04-04 08:38:45 -0400
    Government encompasses the executive and the legislative and (lately) the Supreme Court helping Republicans Tea Party. So talking of government in a blanket way without naming the real obstructionists is misleading and does not help the less educated decide on the next election. I do not question your intention. After all I even agree and support your position: Why should the American people be forced to bear the brunt of the down economy and the effects of elected officials not doing their job.
  • commented 2013-03-31 10:13:20 -0400
    Like with most companies around the globe, if you don’t get action from your hired employees they get fired! Congress is no different! They were hired/elected to do a job. The public wants jobs and a pay raise to meet the inflation rate at the grocery store and that means a raise in the MINIMUM WAGE LAW. The only company that meets what the new law should be set at is COSTCO. Why is that?

    Has CONGRESS done its job? If not, then no pay raise. If they continue down this path, then pay should be cut. Outside of the Board Room and its elite, CONGRESS is the only entity in the USA that can vote itself a pay raise. Think about that the next time you VOTE!
  • commented 2013-03-12 17:58:03 -0400
    Rep Russell: Better have your I.T. people check the computer fans on this site looks like things are heating up. Looks like you struck a nerve!
  • commented 2013-03-06 01:41:48 -0500
    I’d be happy to respond to your email and say thank-you to Tammy Duckworth, but I don’t use either Twitter or Facebook. Shocking, isn’t it?! I would like to kindly tell the world that if requests and offers are limited to Facebook and Twitter, a lot of us, especially older people, are going to be left out. Email should always be an option. Please give people as many ways as possible to respond.

    Thank you for your petition asserting that people in Congress, elected to serve us, do not deserve their full paychecks and benefits when they work barely half-time and accomplish very little. My only question is who would decide which paychecks to cut? Certainly there are some like Tammy Duckworth, whose pay shouldn’t be cut, and she is setting a wonderful example by voluntarily taking a pay cut. Many in Congress seem determined to deny benefits to everyone except themselves and their very wealthy supporters.

    I don’t understand why President Obama is so willing to bargain away a chunk of seniors’ Social Security benefits, which many of us truly need to survive, while members of Congress who refuse to compromise and get anything done still collect their full salaries and benefits. It’s absolutely wrong, and I appreciate that you are calling attention to this injustice and waste of taxpayers’ money! Iowa Senior
  • commented 2013-03-06 01:15:55 -0500
    hip hip hooray! well done Dianne.