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Let's drain the swamp and end taxpayer-funded congressional pensions

Before my election to the U.S. Senate last year, I spent 37 years building a business in my hometown of Jasper, Indiana. Since taking office, I’ve found one thing abundantly clear: Main Street works and Washington is completely dysfunctional.

On Friday, the government could have shut down again without a solution to address the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. That’s why this past week I introduced my End Pensions in Congress (EPIC) Act.

This legislation is similar to my “No Budget, No Pay” proposal which would bar Congress from getting paid if they fail to pass a budget on time. It’s absurd that Congress continues to reward itself for its inaction, which would never fly in the private sector.

As pensions continue to be phased out in favor of 401(k) and other savings plans for American workers, hundreds of congressmen and senators still receive an annual taxpayer-funded pension.

For example, career politician Nancy Pelosi has been in Congress for 33 years and if she were to retire today, she would qualify for a six-figure taxpayer-funded pension paid each year. These generous congressional perks incentivize political survival over bold leadership and it’s time we end this congressional benefit for everyone.

To make Washington work more like the Heartland of America, congressmen and senators should rely on their Thrift Savings Plan – the government equivalent of a private sector 401(k).

Additionally, I will uphold my promise to forgo my congressional pension and if Washington bureaucrats force me to accept a pension because of their interpretation of the law, I pledge to follow President Trump’s lead and donate every penny of my pension on a quarterly basis to charities across Indiana.

Our job in Congress is to serve the American people, and not enrich ourselves with special taxpayer-funded benefits. By ending congressional taxpayer-funded pensions, we will take one more step toward draining the swamp in Washington.

U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the End Pensions in Congress (EPIC) Act Feb. 12 to end taxpayer-funded congressional pensions. The End Plush Retirements Act will end congressional pensions for Members of Congress, while allowing them to continue using the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).