An Arizona congresswoman has a suggestion about how the United States can chip away at its $12 trillion national debt: pay the folks running the show a little bit less.
Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Flagstaff) introduced a bill last week that calls for members of Congress to take a 5 percent pay cut, which would be the first salary decrease for members of Congress in 77 years -- the last time was during the Great Depression.
Members of Congress currently make $174,000 a year (those in leadership positions make more) and if the pay cut is enacted, Kirkpatrick says it could help save $4.6 million each year.
With the country $12 trillion in the hole, $4.6 million is a small drop in an enormous bucket, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
"Families across the country are getting by on lower wages and finding ways to cut back during the downturn, and these are the folks that pay our salaries," Kirkpatrick says in a statement. "The federal government's budget is in much worse shape, so why shouldn't senators and representatives have to feel the same pinch?"
Kirkpatrick has already started giving back 5 percent of her paycheck to the government and says she hopes other members of Congress will join her.
So far, 21 members of Congress -- from both sides of the aisle -- have signed on to Kirkpatrick's bill, which is under consideration by two separate House committees.
Click here to check out the bill for yourself.