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I don’t know David Loebsack, but I’m grateful for his courage in Congress.

I’m grateful that he wants to cut his pay, while so many other Americans are suffering.

The Iowa Democrat has proposed a bill that would slash all congressional pay by 10%.

Officially, it’s HR 398. Unofficially, it’s the “CHIP IN” act.

Congress, chip in? (Laughter here.)

Loebsack not only wants congressional pay cut, he wants all raises stopped.

If it wasn’t for all the long words in the text, the Congressional Halt in Pay Increases and Cut Congressional Pay Act might make hilarious reading.

Don’t know if most workers in this country can even remember the last time they had a raise — if they were indeed ever offered one.

I’ve met too many below-minimum-wage workers in the U.S. who don’t foresee pay hikes.

I know far too many people unemployed, under-employed, and now, a growing number of friends and peers facing 20% pay cuts because of sequestration. (Don’t talk about furloughs, please; these are real, painful cuts.)

A 10% pay cut for Congress is not enough, of course, when millions (including me) are out of work. It’s not enough when millions (including me) cannot get health insurance while our members of Congress get the best health coverage our tax money can buy.

It’s not nearly enough when governments, from local to state to national, are shredding programs for the most vulnerable (children, elders, single parents, people with disabilities, wounded warriors).

It’s truly paltry, when corporate profits and cash reserves are at record highs, and wages are stagnant.

But the CHIP IN Act is the best news I’ve heard from Washington in years.

I used to live in D.C., so I can remember a time when the place used to work, when Republicans could cooperate with Democrats to move this country forward. I didn’t have to agree with the decisions of Congress — welfare “reform” comes to mind — but at least it seemed that government worked for we, the people, more than it does now.

I was in Washington as an international journalist then, so was privileged to have an intimate view of how the White House and Congress worked. We were all privileged then to live in a country with federal surpluses, high employment, and prosperity for more people.

With so many Americans hurting from the decisions of the elite — including Congress — it’s time for our politicians to share the sacrifice.

Some call for sacrifice, but none are willing to actually to follow through.

I applaud the courage of David Loebsack in introducing HR 398.

I’m grateful that he understands some of the pain of his fellow citizens, and is offering to sacrifice for the common good.

And I’m especially grateful that after I signed a national petition supporting his CHIP IN call, Loebsack did not reply with a request for a donation.

Other politicians usually do.

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