Congressman Howard Nielson took a flight to Washington, missing the start of his own health conference, to be on hand Monday for "an extreme measure" proponents hope will show which representatives favor a planned pay raise.
While the Senate voted 95-5 to reject the planned 51 percent pay hike, two-thirds of the House must vote by the Wednesday 12:01 a.m. deadline to reject it.House Speaker Jim Wright offered the 30 percent increase as an alternative in an effort to reduce criticism.
Congress members would make from $89,500 to $135,000 under the increase unless both houses vote to defeat the proposal.
"Money's money, but fair is fair," J. Morgan Young, Nielson's press secretary, said in an interview.
Nielson opposes the proposal for a number of reasons.
"First of all it sends the wrong message to the people," said Young. "The deficits are too high - both the trade deficit and the budget. The amount of increase is far out of line. And he does not believe defaulting on any vote is an honest and honorable way" to get a raise.
"And so he is outraged at the speaker's blatant attempt to ignore a vote on this issue. So when he became aware there would be an opportunity for the salary increase to force a vote from the House floor he flew back to Washington immediately to participate in that battle, even though he had to miss his own health care conference" scheduled Monday.