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Campus Notebook: Freezing Heller

A handful of House Republicans have introduced a bill to freeze Members’ Representational Allowances during times of high unemployment and national debt.

[IMGCAP(1)]The move comes just weeks after the House passed a spending bill that increases MRAs — the Congressional office budgets — by 8 percent for fiscal 2010.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is the main sponsor of the bill, which would insert language into the U.S. Code that prohibits an increase unless the national debt is less than $5.5 trillion and unemployment is 6 percent or less in the previous six months. In addition to Heller, the bill has five co-sponsors, all Republicans.

In a statement, Heller said he decided to introduce the bill after a similar amendment was blocked during consideration of the legislative branch spending bill.

“Federal spending is out of control and Congress should do more than pay lip service to fiscal responsibility,— he said. “I introduced this bill because Congress should lead by example and make government live within its means.—

The MRA is essentially a Member’s office budget and includes staffer salaries, travel and other office expenses.

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