The 27th Amendment

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TheConstitution is the supreme law of the land, and all citizens have toabide by it. One of the most recent changes in the Constitution isthe 27th amendment which focuses on congressional pay raises. Itforbids payment changes, especially where the Congress is still inoffice (Sobel 10). The American economy has been significantlyaffected by budgetary concerns as legislators never experience theeffects of their actions. This amendment protects representativesfrom losing their salaries regardless of a financial shutdown ingovernment operations. Pay hike for most employees is based onperformance (Kamin 4). Individuals have to be capable of performingthe job assigned to them with a small probability of failure.However, Congress seems to be an exemption when it comes to thisrestriction. Congressional productivity would be at its peak weretheir salaries to be regulated. Members would act more rapidly andefficiently for the interests of the people they serve. The salariesof Congress members are not funded through the yearly appropriationbill, but rather through permanently undefined funding. When membersdiscuss other Congressional budgets, their salaries are almostinvulnerable to any changes made by the legislature. Salaries of themembers of Congress should be embedded into the legislativeappropriations thereby removing the automatic salary cost of livingadjustment (COLA). This change contributes to the increase in themember’s pay. Such hikes contradict the 27th amendment whichdemands the re-election of members before the adoption of anypolicies initiating a pay hike. An appeal to change the 27thamendment would offer the chance to set principles about governmentwaste and constrain Congress to a level of responsibility before theygain a solitary penny of their over-blown pay rates (Kamin 21). Incase Congress fails to approve a budget, the new amendments shouldinclude repercussions. These include withholding salaries of membersuntil a budget has been adopted, the salaries of the Congressionalcommittee shall be halved pending budgetary approval, and finallythere should be no recess or discussion of any other business pendingthe adoption of the budget.


Kamin,David. &quotLegislating Crisis.&quot TheTiming of Lawmaking (Levmore and Fagan eds, Edward Elgar Publishing,forthcoming)(2016).

Sobel,Syl. TheUS Constitution and you.Barron`s Educational Series, 2001.

Article1, Section 6

TheSecretary of State is one of the cabinet positions in the UnitedStates government, and the holder of this post represents America’sforeign policy as determined by the President. Additionally, holdersare also entrusted with other domestic duties such as preparingpresidential proclamations and custodian of the Great Seal. Accordingto Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution, there is a restrictionon some members of Congress as they are barred from holding civiloffice. This is referred to as the Emoluments Clause. Members arebarred from serving in public positions which were created while theywere serving their term or positions where their Emoluments wereincreased during their terms in Congress (O’Connell 7). BothHillary Clinton and John Kerry were members of the Senate, and theywere beneficiaries of pay hikes which were effected during theirterms. Both had to resign from their elective posts to occupy theposition of Secretary of State. By law, there is an automatic yearlyincrease in pay for members of Congress equivalent to the changes inaverage wages in the private sector over the past year. The hikecannot exceed the pay for other federal employees by a higherpercentage. During their terms in the Senate, there was a salaryincrement for Cabinet Secretaries to $191,300 from a previous salaryof $186,600. Back in January 2009, there was yet another increase.Thus under these circumstances, both Hillary Clinton and John Kerryare considered constitutionally unqualified to serve in the cabinet.However, in the past, Presidents have formulated ways through whichthey can manipulate the clause before filling the cabinet positionswith legislators who are constitutionally ineligible. Senator WilliamB. Saxbe was appointed as the attorney general by President RichardNixon in 1973. In 1969, there was almost a double increase in thesalaries of Cabinet officers and Saxbe was part of that Senate.Congress was convinced by President Nixon to lower the pay for Saxbeto pre-1969 rates. This came to be known as the Saxbe fix which hasbeen criticized as a violation of the law. This was the same scenariothat was applied before Hillary Clinton could be allowed to joinPresident Obama’s cabinet (O’Connell 8). The salary for theSecretary of State had to be reduced before she could take office. Itis, therefore, justified to conclude that their appointment wasunconstitutional as per Article 1, Section 6.


O’Connell,Anne Joseph. &quotQualifications: Law and Practice of SelectingAgency Leaders.&quot NorthwesternLaw ‘Law and Political Economy Colloquium.Vol. 184. 2011.

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