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Saturday, January 14, 2012

US Rep. Johnson Pitches Plan For Part-Time Congress

On January 13th Congressman Johnson announced his major congressional reform initiative: The Citizen Legislator Act. This bill could save up to $2 billion a year by cutting the days representatives spend in session, cutting their salaries in half, cutting their office budgets in half and allowing them to work jobs outside of public office.

For more information on this legislation visit:


Johnson pitches plan for part-time Congress

BLOOMINGTON – One Central Illinois lawmaker wants Congress to do less – a lot less.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, is introducing a bill called the Citizen Legislators Act, which would make being a member of Congress a part-time job instead of a full-time position. He said a less demanding legislative schedule – and the ability to have a job outside Congress – would bring in new blood.

The five-term incumbent said the current crop of lawmakers in Congress is out of touch with “Main Street USA.”

“You can get farmers, you can get teachers, you can get laborers, you can get lawyers, you can get a variety of people,” Johnson told WJBC’s Beth Whisman on Friday. “Now, the ‘mix,’ so to speak, is very limited.”

Johnson’s bill would:

  • Limit days in session to five per month, or 60 business days per session.
  • Halves the salary of representatives and senators.
  • Permit members to have jobs outside of Congress, so long as they don’t derive their income as a result of the “privilege of their office,” such as speaking tours.
  • Cuts member office allowances, committee and leadership budgets in half
  • Cuts member salaries an additional 10 percent for every five business days Congress exceeds 60 business days in session.
Johnson said his bill could save up to $2 billion a year.

“You force efficiency. You force people to get work done in a compact period of time, and if they don’t there’s a heavy penalty to be paid – every five days you go over the 60, members get their salaries cut 10 percent.”

Johnson conceded that the chances of his bill passing are slim, but he said he’d be pleased to see it raise the issue in a serious way.

One of the Democrats hoping to run against Johnson in November said Johnson was “playing political games” instead of focusing on economic issues “important to voters in Central Illinois.”

“Congressman Johnson is part of the problem in Washington, and it’s clear he’ll do to anything to stay in Congress,” Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten said in a statement. “When Congressman Tim Johnson first ran for Congress more than ten years ago, he supported term limits. Now Congressman Johnson is trying to hide his failed record of supporting job-killing trade agreements and ending Medicare as we know it by introducing bogus reform initiatives so he can get re-elected. That’s exactly why Congress is such a mess. We need actual solutions to get people back to work.”

Goetten will run against fellow Democrat Dr. David Gill in the March 20 primary.

Johnson’s “new bill cuts pay and work time for Congress in half,” a post on Gill’s Twitter account (@davidgill2012) said. “Will he cut his pay and staff by half NOW to lead — or is it another stunt?”

For his interview with WJBC go here

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