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TREASURY AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2000 -- (House of Representatives - July 15, 1999)

   For instance, Hong Kong, arguably a country far smaller than the United States, pays its chief executive over $400,000 a year.

   The country of Israel, whose economic challenges, security issues and the like and population is nowhere near the breadth and scope of ours, they pay their executive $90,000 a year.

   Panama, a country that we have a long historical association with, pays its chief executive $180,000 a year. We are currently paying the President of the United States $200,000 a year, essentially equivalent to the amount that the President of Panama is earning.

   The responsibilities of the President of Panama, are they equivalent to the responsibilities of the President of the United States? On a comparative basis alone, this body should move forward expeditiously to increase the rate of pay for the President of the United States.

   I also want to associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE). What we pay will be reflected in the quality of the person we get. That is a dictum of business that has been proven year after year, decade after decade, century after century. We need to take advantage to the extent we can.

   And $400,000 is lot of money, but not for this job. Whoever the occupant of this office is, is gone from their family, loses any semblance of private life, is at the beck and call of the people of the United States, and stands under enormous stress day after day after day. We need to compensate this person appropriately. We need to have people who are good people in this office. We need to pay them to sacrifice their personal lives and come to the service of their country.

   I think the amendment, however well-meaning, does not serve that purpose; and I oppose it.

   Mr. KANJORSKI. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to this amendment. Serving with the gentleman from California (Mr. HORN) on his committee, I think he has done the country and the Congress a great service in bringing this issue to the forefront at this particular moment, for the precise reasons as the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE) mentioned. If we do not do it now, we will not be able to do it successfully for another 5 years. This is not a raise for the incumbent President. It is for the next President.

   I have to confess to my fellow colleagues that last week I had the occasion to spend the week with the President and sort of live in his shoes, if you will. It is a 20-hour-a-day job. There are a myriad of issues, great and small, that he must deal with every day.

   Obviously, his full commitment has to be to the job of executing the administration of the government of the United States. I would hope that we would want our Chief Executive to dedicate himself fully to that and think of nothing materialistic in his nature because this is, without a doubt, the most important office in the

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world. I think we, as Americans and Members of Congress, ought to be proud to say that.

   I understand that there are some Members of Congress that like to put a dollar value on public service. But I remember several years ago a story told to me at a hearing by the then and present Chief Justice of the United States. We were talking about pensions and salaries at that hearing, and he remarked to me that he was a little disappointed as Chief Justice because that day when he returned to the court he was going to lose his Chief Clerk. And we all know the Chief Clerk is an excellent law student out of law school who serves with the Chief Justice for a period of a year or two. And he said it was ironic how he was losing his Chief Clerk, who in the next day who would be earning in excess of two times the salary of the Chief Justice of the United States.

   He threw out another important figure to me, that when we take the comparison of the entire Bar of the United States, the Chief Justice does not earn in up to the 75th percentile of the earning capacity of the Bar of the United States.

   And of course, the President of the United States, if we made that comparison to CEOs of corporations or, as the gentleman recently said, to other chief executive officers of what we would call minor states in the world, it is ludicrous the $200,000 that was allocated in 1969 for this President.

   I would just suggest one other thing. We heard value for inflation. If we took the stock market of 1969 at $200,000 and the stock market today, the President's salary would be over $2 million.


[Time: 19:15]

   I do not know what measure we should use, but clearly there are few constituents of mine, I am sure, and many constituents of my colleagues that do not consider the salary of $200,000 as extravagant for the President of the United States.

   There is a special thing about being President. I learned it on the trip this week. It is not necessarily the individual. It is that office. Wherever he went and whoever he talked to, those people would remember until the day they died that they had an opportunity to meet and shake hands and welcome the President of the United States.

   We ought to be proud of that fact and we as Congressmen should not pander to the sympathies of Populism that says no pay, nothing. I know people who would accept the presidency for zero. The power is extraordinary, and if you were wealthy, you could afford it. But this is a country of average, common people and let us hope that common men can aspire to be President, and if they ever do, the salary of $400,000 a year at the end of this millennium will not sound like very much.

   I urge my colleagues on both sides to put aside our foolishness and stay with this bill and set the salary of the President of the United States at $400,000 a year.

   Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   Mr. Chairman, this is an issue that I think reasonable people can disagree on. I respect my colleagues for bringing forward this amendment, but I wholeheartedly disagree with them on this particular issue at this time.

   As we look through history, we look back to 1873 when the salary was $50,000; it was 36 years later that salary was moved to $75,000; in 1949 it went to $100,000; 20 years later to $200,000, and it has not been changed for 30 years.

   We do not run for office and people do not aspire to serve in government for the money. If we did this for the money, we would be doing something else. I took a pay cut to come here. A number of my colleagues did that. We do it for the ability to serve. But the President of the United States I think arguably has the most challenging job on this planet. We do not want that individual worried about pinching pennies, worried about their financial future, the future of their kids, worried about putting their kids through college, about maintaining their homes back in their native States.

   We do not want only the wealthy to be able to aspire to the presidency because they can afford the other entertainment expenses that go along with this because their expenses could be cut in any given year.

   To give my colleagues a global perspective, it has been mentioned that the President of Hong Kong, not even an independent country, the Chancellor there gets $400,000 a year, in excess. The President of Japan, a country smaller than ours, an economy smaller than ours, $381,000 year. The President of Singapore gets almost a half million dollars a year in annual salary. The President of Switzerland gets more than our President gets today, $230,000. The President of Taiwan gets over $300,000 a year. This is not out of line. This is a reasonable, incremental increase that is commensurate with what we have done in the past to provide for our chief elected officers.

   I do not want government on the cheap, but I want that person in the Oval Office, of whatever party, of whatever persuasion, to not have to worry about the financial aspects of the job. I want him to concentrate on running the country. I think the increase that is in this bill, that has gone through extensive hearings, that is supported by the gentleman from California (Mr. HORN) of the authorizing subcommittee and others, is the right approach at this time. I ask my colleagues to reject this amendment.

   Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

   Mr. Chairman, I would say that I was undecided on this issue before a few minutes ago. I have tried to listen to the debate on both sides.

   Over the past few weeks, I have had conversations with friends of mine, and I will tell my colleagues what their advice was. They said, ``Don't vote for a pay raise.'' They said that this is not a popular thing to do. We have discussed certain things and they have actually said, ``This is how I feel. My gosh, don't get out on the floor of the House and say that,'' because it is not a popular thing.

   Let us just sit back for a minute and imagine that we did not know how much the President of the United States made. Let us start from that reference point. We would consider certain things. We would look at what our forefathers paid the first President. That would be one calculation. I am sure major league baseball players would come into it. I am sure there would be other people that would say they ought to take the job for free. Most people that now run for President, they are independently wealthy and they could afford to do that. There are some that are not. If we wanted to approach it is to take the job for free and we would rule out anyone who was not a multimillionaire, that is the way some people might like it. But again, go back. We do not know what the President makes. What do you think we would guess he makes? I have asked some people that and the figure a million dollars is the most often response. ``I think the President ought to make a million dollars.''

   Now, we will discuss an amendment in a few minutes that the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. SANDERS) is offering as to whether or not we have oversight when we pay out a billion dollars. We deal in those type figures. It is important that we focus on this figure and what the President makes.

   I will agree with the gentleman from Virginia that there are certain people that come here in all honesty and argue that $200,000 is fine. But when you talk to executives, when you talk to professionals, I think that they would probably tell you that the President ought to make a million dollars.

   I will not be doing the popular thing. I will be opposing this amendment. But in doing so, I will be doing the right thing, because I think the President of our country, the leader of the free world, ought to make at least what is proposed in this legislation.

   The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. SESSIONS).

   The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

   Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

   The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. SESSIONS) will be postponed.


   Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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   The Clerk read as follows:

   Amendment offered by Mr. SMITH of New Jersey:

   In section 635 (relating to contraceptive coverage), strike paragraph (2) of subsection (b) and insert the following:

   (2) any existing or future plan, if the carrier for the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions.

   In subsection (c) of such section 635, strike ``prescribe'' and insert ``prescribe or otherwise provide for''.

   Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.

   The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona reserves a point of order.

   Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, let me be very brief. This should be and I hope it will be a noncontroversial amendment.

   Mr. Chairman, the effect of the policy enacted last year and carried over in this bill is to force health plans participating in FEHB to cover controversial abortifacients, such as the new ``morning after'' pill, Preven. Preven and some other new drugs, as we all know, destroy a developing embryo. They are really not contraceptives, but unfortunately they are included in this bill.

   While I oppose that mandate as bad public policy, I am not here today in an effort to strike it or even to limit it. Rather, I want to ensure that the conscience protection does what many already believe that it does, and that is to protect individuals in plans with moral or religious objections from the requirements of the mandate.

   This is a conscience clause. Right now the FEHB mandate lacks adequate conscience protection for some of the potential sponsors of health plans and individual providers who are opposed to providing such drugs and devices. As we know from the language of the bill, five religious plans are exempt by name as well as any existing or future plan if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs. Left out is ``moral convictions.'' We believe, I believe, they should be protected as well.

   Finally, the conscience protection for individual providers also needs to be expanded and clarified to protect any health care worker--I repeat any health care worker--including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants.

   The second part of my amendment provides conscience protection to everyone in health--all health care workers who might object on either moral or religious grounds to the contraceptive mandate. I would hope that this amendment would be agreed to.


   Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the amendment. Again, this was just handed to us.

   I make a point of order against the amendment, because it appears to me that it proposes to change existing law and constitutes legislation on an appropriations bill and would violate clause 2 of rule XXI.

   The rule states that an amendment to a general appropriations bill shall not be in order if changing existing law imposes additional duties. This adds a word, in this case, to the current legislation, by adding ``moral convictions.'' For that reason, it would seem to impose an additional requirement on the Office of Personnel Management that administers these plans and in my view it would, for that reason, violate clause 2 of rule XXI. I would make that point of order.

   Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, if I could be heard, I would very briefly say that this is not legislating on an appropriations bill but merely perfecting legislation permitted to remain.

   The CHAIRMAN. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

   Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I too have just seen the amendment, but it does appear to require action beyond what would be solely a perfecting amendment with respect to the paragraph 2 that is being added, in that the plan objects to such coverage on the basis, one would have to make a judgment as to the objection, the reason for the objection, and, therefore, it imposes an additional duty on the administrator. Under those circumstances, it seems to me that this would be in violation of the rule cited by the gentleman from Arizona.

   The CHAIRMAN. Does any other Member wish to be heard?

   Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to be heard additionally.

   Again, I would point out that the legislation as it exists now refers to any existing or future plan if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs. That clearly is a particular limitation and says none of the funds appropriated may be used for that purpose.

   Now we have added in an additional duty to the Office of Personnel Management, by saying ``moral convictions.'' So they clearly have additional responsibilities that are going to be required in order to carry this out.

   In addition, subsection (c), and I am not sure I understand exactly what the impact of this is, but by striking ``prescribe'' and inserting ``prescribe or otherwise provide for'' would seem also to require some additional duties, and I believe that this clearly is additional legislation, additional duties.

   The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other Members who wish to be heard? If not the Chair is prepared to rule.

   The amendment must be judged against all the language found in section 635. Such language covers contraceptive ``coverage'' and ``moral convictions'' as addressed in the pending text. The amendment appears to be merely perfecting and the Chair overrules the point of order.

   Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

   Mr. Chairman, as I was walking in, I heard the amendment, part of the amendment, but I would like to address the first portion of the amendment as I believe I heard it. I believe the gentleman is attributing to a plan a conscience. We debated this point quite fully in the last session of the Congress. And, in fact, we were quite concerned that a plan could suddenly develop a conscience and not allow this service to be provided, and, therefore, working in a bipartisan way with Members on both sides of the aisle, there was an agreement that any individual provider could opt out as long as that plan would provide the service.


[Time: 19:30]

   So I would like to ask the gentleman how a plan could suddenly develop a conscience, number one.

   Now I would like to continue. Number two, I would like to make another point. It is my understanding, Mr. Chairman, that 1.2 million Federal employees currently have this service covered. There has not been any concern; there has not been any criticism. Under the conscience clause included in this provision, which the chairman has included in his mark which has been brought to this floor, it is my understanding that there are no other plans that have requested to even be part of the conscience clause. There were religious plans included in the conscience clause that was developed, and it is my understanding from talking to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan that no other plans have asked to be included in the conscience clause in the exemption.

   So, Mr. Chairman, every once in a while we tend to pass legislation that really works, that is really providing a service, that is basic health care for women, and based upon all the information that I have there has been no objection.

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