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22 October 2010

Fact-Check: Barnes Campaign Says Deal Voted To Raise His Salary Six Times

The gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Roy Barnes recently claimed that, while in Congress, Republican Nathan Deal voted to increase his congressional salary six times [Roy, 2010 (2010-10-19). Congressman Deal Likes to Give Himself a Leg-up in the Workplace While Keeping the Glass Ceiling Intact. Press Release. Retrieved on 2010-10-22.].

This claim has been repeated often on the Twitter feeds by Barnes' supporters, so I thought it'd be a good idea to fact-check it.

Republican Nathan Deal was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 as a Democrat.

Prior to Deal's election, Congress passed the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, which included a provision that automatically raised the salaries of Representatives and Senators unless they specifically vote to reject the pay increase. President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law November 30, 1989.

A report from the Congressional Research Service said that between 1990 and 2009, Congress voted to reject its automatic pay raise six times [Brudnick, Ida A. (2009-1-9). Salaries of Members of Congress: Congressional Votes, 1990-2009. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved on 2010-10-22.]. Nathan Deal was among those lawmakers voting against a congressional salary increase between 1993 and 1998 [H.R. 920 (1993), Vote #54; H.R. 4539 (1994), Vote #247; H.R. 2020 (1995), Vote #534; H.R. 3610 (1996), Vote #455; H.R. 2378 (1997), Vote #474; H.R. 4104 (1998), Vote #293 & #494; H.R. 4328 (1998), Vote #538].

From 1999 until 2007, Congress did not vote on language rejecting their automatic raise. Under the provisions of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, since Congress did not reject their pay increase, they received it automatically.

In 2007, Congress voted to delay its pay increase until February of that year. Nathan Deal voted against that legislation [H.J.Res. 102 (2006), Vote #540].

However, Deal introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 (H.R. 500), which included language that would cut the pay of members of Congress every year the federal government runs a budget deficit. Deal's Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 languished in committee.

Long story short, the facts don't appear to support the Barnes campaign claim that Nathan Deal voted to give himself a raise six times.