WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) announced today that he favors eliminating any pay increase for Members of Congress in the 2010 budget and that he will donate his 2009 increase to local charities. This announcement comes the same day chief executives from the eight major companies that received funding from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) are testifying in the House Committee on Financial Services. Himes suggested in an interview this morning that those CEOs take into account the sacrifices families are being forced to make as they consider the way they operate and pay their executives.

“At a time when families are losing their savings, their homes, and their jobs, we should demand that our leaders and businesses be prudent and helpful in working to get us out of this mess,” said Congressman Himes.

Congressman Himes will donate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) he is receiving in his 2009 salary in equal parts to Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, CTE Inc. (Stamford’s Community Action Agency), and Action for Bridgeport Community Development. The 2009 increase was approved during last year’s appropriations process which determined this year’s budget.

“During this economic downturn, many charities that depend on donors are experiencing hard times as well—just when more people than ever depend on their services,” said Congressman Himes. “NEON, CTE, and ABCD all have solid records of providing results for the citizens they assist, and I am proud to support their efforts.”

The House Committee on Financial Services is holding a hearing today titled “TARP Accountability: Use of Federal Assistance by the First TARP Recipients.” The Committee is hearing testimony from the CEOs of the eight major companies that received TARP funding regarding the use of the funds. The committee will use the testimony to determine how best to increase accountability and transparency in the distribution and use of the second installment of TARP loans.

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Congressman Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District, which includes the communities of Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield,  Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Stamford, Trumbull,  Weston, Westport, and Wilton.