Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today helped pass legislation that will block a previously-set 2011 pay raise for Members of Congress. The legislation is expected to save the taxpayers $1 million, and an identical bill passed the Senate last week. Himes has championed fiscal responsibility and personal accountability for lawmakers throughout his tenure in Congress. In addition to helping block pay raises for lawmakers, Himes returned to the taxpayers $90,000 in 2009 operating expenses for his Washington and Connecticut offices.

“At a time when Connecticut families and businesses are still struggling, I can’t permit a pay raise for Members of Congress,” said Himes. “If this means one more road or school is built or 100 more workers get the unemployment assistance they need, we’ll have made a far better contribution to the economy than putting this money in our own pockets.”

Himes is committed to trimming his own operations in the same way the tough economy is forcing businesses to cut back. Himes returned over $90,000 in operating expenses allotted to staff and support his Congressional offices in 2009. In addition to helping block a Congressional pay raise for next year, Himes supported similar legislation last year that blocked an increase for 2010.  Having not been a Member of Congress when the 2009 compensation was determined, Himes donated the cost-of-living increase he received for 2009 to charities in the 4th District.

In addition to tightening spending in his office operations, Himes has fought for measures to restore fiscal and personal accountability throughout Congress. Himes has voluntarily instituted a policy in his office that forbids campaign contributions from entities for which he secures an earmark, and he has frequently crossed party lines to oppose Democratic spending increases or join Republicans in supporting targeted cuts. Himes was among the first lawmakers to return campaign funds from former Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (NY-15). Additionally, he has regularly voted against Democratic Leadership in calling for investigations by the House Ethics Committee.

Himes began his effort to eliminate even the appearance of conflicts of interest during his first month in Congress. The week he was appointed to the Financial Services Committee in 2009, Himes voluntarily completely divested himself of all of his holdings in the financial services industry.