Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) may not be back to work on Capitol Hill yet, but her influence is still felt in Washington.
In a letter to the debt-reduction supercommittee organized by Giffords’ Washington office, 25 lawmakers urged the supercommittee to cut lawmakers’ salaries to reduce the federal deficit.
The letter, sent Thursday and signed by 11 Republicans and 14 Democrats, said a paycut would be a “commonsense” way to cut the required $1.5 trillion from the federal budget, as well as “a powerful message to the American people that Congress should not be exempt from the sacrifices it will take to balance the budget.”
Slashing lawmaker salaries was one of the last major issues Giffords advocated before she was shot in the head at a January 2011 constituent event. Only days before the shooting, Giffords had proposed legislation to cut the salaries of senators and representatives by five percent.
“Members of Congress can’t ask any American to cut back before we are willing to make some sacrifices of our own,” Giffords said at the time.
The five percent pay cut that Giffords advocated would add up to $50 million in savings over ten years, according to Thursday’s letter, which also notes that U.S. lawmakesr receive salaries that are 3.4 times higher than the average full-time wage for an American worker.
Reps. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) joined Giffords office in leading the effort to write and gather signatures for the letter, Politico reported.
Giffords gave her first public interview since the shooting to ABC’s Diane Sawyer Monday night, just before teh release of the couple’s new book, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.”