If freshman Congressman Jeff Landry doesn’t get defeated in a reapportionment squeezeplay here at home, he’s liable to be run out of Washington on a rail, tarred and feathered.
Landry, along with a bunch of other first-term Republicans and a sprinkling of Democrat veterans, is trying to stop members of Congress from getting blue-ribbon benefits funded by taxpayers.
A resident of New Iberia with deep roots in St. Martinville, Landry has cosponsored H.R. 3480, a k a the End Pensions in Congress Act. The aptly acronymed EPIC Act would phase out the Congressional retirement plan.
As it is now, anyone who serves at least five years in Congress can, upon reaching retirement age, receive a annual pension of 1.7 percent of their salary times the number of years they served. In 2009, the average pension for Congressional retirees was $40,140 a year for life.
One of Landry’s first moves in Congress was to decline his member’s retirement and health care benefits – a move so rare he said he had to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to get it done.
He said he meant it not as a personal sacrifice but as an exercise in leadership.
“Congress must take every step possible to ensure our children and grandchildren aren’t drowned in a debt created by Washington’s addiction to spending,” Landry said.
“The EPIC Act is another great step toward achieving a smaller, more efficient government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Landry is also one of a dozen Republicans behind H.R. 3883 – the Budget or Bust Act – which puts a hold on members’ pay until Congress passes a budget.
And he was among several House Republicans who refunded the treasury a portion of their own office budgets to help pay down the national debt. Landry put up $160,000, or more than 11 percent, which he said would add up to between $99 million and $100 million a year if every senator and representative followed suit.