Democrats are poised to cave on a proposal to increase the annual salary for members of Congress.
House Democrats agreed Monday night to remove a provision from an upcoming government funding bill that would increase congressional salaries by $4,500. Members of Congress are already paid a generous $174,000, earning well above what the average American makes in a year.
A battle was set to emerge in the Democratic caucus over the proposed pay increase. Some Democrats in battleground states were opposed to the raise, seeing it as poor political optics, whereas other members of the House Majority were inclined to go ahead and help themselves to even more. Members of Congress are paid considerably more than even the most senior government employees.
Steny Hoyer, the Democratic House Majority Leader, was quoted by Politico as stating that the pay raise provision is being pulled from the government appropriations package while Democrats hash out a consensus on the issue internally.
Upstart New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is thus far one of the few Democrats to go on record in support of the proposed pay raise, describing it as a necessary move to counteract the Congress-to-lobbyist pipeline. It’s unclear why the democratic socialist can’t find an alternative way to deter the influence of corrupt lobbyists without paying overpaid government employees even more money.
Many Democrats seem to genuinely believe they’re being underpaid and can’t afford to take up residence in the expensive Washington D.C area with their current income, despite being handed a large salary that many middle and working-class Americans would consider themselves immensely fortunate to receive.
It’s not entirely impossible that the few crucial Democrats opposed to the raise will take their commendable opposition to a congressional cash grab a step further- by announcing their support for a pay cut of the hefty and bloated annual $174,000 congressional salary.
Swamp Bureaucrats Try to Oust America First USAID appointee
Bureaucrats at a division of the U.S. Agency for International Development that focuses on conflict prevention are fuming about their new boss.
In fact, they’re so angry that they drafted a lengthy memo detailing their grievances with the aim of getting the Trump administration to take action on their behalf, according to a report by Politico.
The disgruntled officials’ 13-page memo singles out Pete Marocco, the head of USAID’s Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization.
A USAID official stated that a small group of veteran staffers drafted the memo in the bureau’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). Marocco has voiced his skepticism towards a lot of programs this division runs, which is in line with the America First reluctance of embracing foreign aid programs.
The memo portrays Marocco as a micromanager who has thrown several wrenches into the bureau’s operations. In addition, the memo accuses Marocco of marginalizing employees and being vague about his orders that are allegedly difficult to implement. According to the complaint, “thousands of hours of staff time” have been “spent unnecessarily and unproductively.”
Furthermore, the complaint alleged that Marocco “has leveraged once-routine administrative processes to reopen previously-approved plans, interrogate and redirect country programs, halt movement on programs, procurements, and people, and inject uncertainty into daily operations and office planning.“ In addition, it contended that Marocco “has eschewed providing direction in writing or through other formal channels, and rarely sent guidance to teams directly implicated. Instead, he has conveyed orders and decisions, sometimes only orally, to individual staff … who then must attempt to relay this information as best they can to colleagues. This has inevitably generated significant confusion over intent and expectations, and made it difficult to confirm decisions or maintain adequate records.”
One of the more unheralded aspects of President Donald Trump’s ascendancy into the White House has been his skepticism towards the efficacy of foreign aid, which has traditionally been plagued with corruption. According to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. government spent roughly $39.2 billion on foreign aid in 2019, with very little results to show for it.
Overall, officials like Marcocco were appointed with the task of re-orienting USAID’s priorities, which ruffled many feathers.
For example, Marocco was against a $2 million extension of an OTI program in Ukraine that senior USAID and State Department officials werenin favor of. The proposal to extend the program has been sitting on Marocco’s desk waiting for the greenlight since he assumed the position in July, according to the complaint. On two occasions he has called for canceling this program and made a request to find out how much the cancellation process would cost. Politco reported that Marocco “hasn’t said what he would want to do instead with the money besides “do something ‘important’ like train and equip the military or police, or work on security sector reform,” according to the memo, which notes that the first suggestion is prohibited by law, while the second is not a USAID priority in Ukraine.”
It’s clear that Marocco is no swamp creature and does not believe in just doling out money to corrupt countries. An America First foreign aid policy would be one of minimal to no foreign aid, and people like Marocco make it easier for us to achieve that goal.
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