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Friday
Dec242010

Three Lawmakers Use Little-known Law to Chip Away at National Debt

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On his first day in the House of Representatives in 2007, Rep. Timothy Walz, D-Minn., decided to return a portion of his congressional salary to the United States in an effort to reduce the public debt.

Walz, of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, is among a handful of congressmen who have chosen to freeze their salaries and donate the rest to the deficit. Walz donated approximately $6,588 to the deficit between January and September 2010, according to the House's Statement of Disbursement, a quarterly public report containing all official receipts and expenditures for members of the House of Representatives.

Reps. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and Frank Lobiondo, R-N.Y., also disclosed that they'd donated their congressional pay increases to the debt.

"When a pay increase is approved, he personally writes a check to return the money and specifically directs the U.S. Treasury Department to use it to pay down the public debt," Bachus spokesman Tim Johnson said. Bachus also requests that his unspent office funds go toward the national debt rather than to other congressional spending. In the fiscal year 2009, Bachus' office expenses came in about $200 under budget, money he turned over to the U.S. Treasury Department for debt reduction.

Bachus, Lobiondo and Walz are the only members who disclosed their contributions to Congress in 2010. Other members may have privately donated money to the debt and other charities but chose not to disclose it in the disbursement books.

Congress passed the law in 1961 that allows citizens to donate funds to the U.S. to reduce the country's deficit. In 2010, more than $2.8 million has been donated to the fund to help ease the $1.3 trillion deficit.

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