Perry Floats Idea of Part-Time Congress During GOP Debate
Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry offered a novel approach to accusations of abuse of power in Congress Thursday in the last GOP debate before the first-in-the-nation Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses presented by Fox News.
In response to a heated exchange between Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann over the former House Speaker’s past ties to Freddie Mac — a government-backed housing entity — Gov. Perry said the argument missed the point.
“I’ll be real honest with you, the issue we ought to be talking about on this stage is how you really overhaul Washington, D.C. — and the idea that you can’t tell the difference between lobbying and consulting,” Perry said.
“The idea that we have Congress staying there as many days as they do and the salary that they have — that’s the reason I’ve called for a part-time Congress,” Perry continued. “Cut their pay in half. Cut their time in Washington in half. Cut their staff in half. Send them home. Let them get a job like everybody else back home has, and live within the laws of which they pass. We do that and you pass a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution, and the conversations that we’ve been having up here will be minor.”
When asked specifically what would constitute part-time, Perry suggested that Capitol Hill should take its cue from the part-time Texas Legislature.
“I would suggest to you maybe 140 days every other year like we do in Texas,” Perry said.
Perry has floated the idea of a part-time Congress on the campaign trail in recent days. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) — a member of the House Tea Party Caucus — said Gov. Perry’s idea could work but the quality of service might not be the same.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to tightening or reducing the period of time that we’re in D.C.,” Neugebauer said Wednesday in an interview with First News KFYO Talk 790 AM
in Lubbock, Texas. “We work from sunup to sundown, so I think it would be difficult to do all the things that I think people expect of a United States congressman and do it on a part-time basis.”