Republican South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman and Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna introduced a bill Thursday that would cut retirement benefits accrued by members of Congress.
The Stop Congressional Retirees Accessing Perks (SCRAP) Act, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller, eliminates the $174,000 death gratuity paid to the families of members who die in the middle of a congressional session and ends member participation in a federal employee pension program. Retired members of Congress currently receive $139,200 as part of the pension plan, according to Investopedia.
“Corruption in Washington is a bipartisan problem,” Norman told the Daily Caller. “For too long, politicians have received special privileges, inaccessible to the American people, because of their positions of power. It’s no surprise they have safeguarded them for so long. The SCRAP Act is a bipartisan bill and part of a larger effort to restore integrity in Congress and weed out individuals here for the wrong reasons.”
The SCRAP Act also terminates retired representatives’ access to the House floor, access to the members’ gym, access to the members’ dining room and access to members’ parking spaces. Those provisions can be waived by the Speaker of the House and Minority Leader on a case-by-case basis, although any waivers would have to be published in the Congressional Record.
“Former members of Congress should have to play by the same rules as every American. It’s past time we end the special privileges and luxuries for former members at the expense of taxpayers by passing the SCRAP Act. Let’s work to restore accountability in Congress,” Khanna told the Daily Caller.
In the wake of stock trades conducted by members during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has looked to beef up its ethics requirements. The bipartisan Ban Conflicted Trading Act, introduced in March, would ban members and their staffers from trading stocks without filing disclosures. The STOCK Act, passed in 2012, already prevents members and staffers from trading stocks based off of non-public information. (RELATED: Ethics Complaint Alleges Democratic Rep. Broke Law By Failing To Disclose Stock Trades)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated five senators for possible insider trading at the beginning of the pandemic, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, Georgia Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein. None of the five were charged, although the FBI did seize Burr’s cell phone as part of its investigation.