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Penny pinching? Or publicity stunt?

For all the reputation Congress has for its free-spending ways, each year many members return a portion of their office operating budget. Usually, they put out a press release and leave it at that. Or not -- some just do it quietly. 

But this year, with the deficit as dinner conversation in many U.S. household, many congressmen are boasting of their penny-pinching ways. Eight Republican freshmen, including Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, on Wednesday held a press conference boasting of their thrift. They told reporters they'd return a combined $1.45 million in leftover office funds to the House speaker. They asked that it go toward the $15 trillion national debt.

Normally, reports my colleague Sean Cockerham of the McClatchy Washington bureau, such unused money goes into a fund controlled by the House speaker and then only into the U.S. Treasury if it’s not spent for two years. The eight freshman who are  returning money signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking him to allow the money to just go straight into the Treasury.

And on Thursday, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, noted that he, too, had returned $250,000.  It represents about 20 percent of the congressman’s annual budget, his office said, and it covers expenses at his Washington, Miami-Dade and Collier County offices.

The award for thriftiest Floridian in Congress might well be U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden. He announced this week he's returning $453,000 from his congressional office budget.

Comments

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frank

Election time is coming and they are worried. Stunts will not correct their horrible votes.

dog of war

stunt at the expense of hard working staff. it will result in less constituent services.

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