Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) says Congress can't afford a pay cut because its last salary increase occurred six years ago.
Terry, considered one of the Republican Party’s most vulnerable incumbents this cycle, rebuffed his Democratic challenger state Sen. Brad Ashford on Monday. Ashford wants to cut lawmakers' salary by 10 percent and, if elected, would voluntarily return that amount until he gets the cut passed.
"What he's not telling you is that Congress hasn't had a cost of living increase since 2008, when I led the charge for a freeze," Terry shot back, according to KMTV.
Members of Congress last voted to hike their salaries by $5,000 in 2009. Since then, concerns over the nation's debt and the recession have led to several federal pay freezes.
"I give at least that amount [10 percent] to charities already, so I don't have to do a campaign trick like that," added Terry. "I'm already giving back to the community from my salary."
This isn't the first time Terry's checkbook has come under scrutiny. During last year's federal government shutdown, he was forced to apologize for refusing to give up his $174,000 congressional salary as many lawmakers did.
"God bless them," he said of his colleagues. "But you know what? I've got a nice house and a kid in college, and I'll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly."
In March of 2013, Terry joined Republicans in unanimously voting against a Democratic bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage. President Barack Obama has recently worked to address the issue by executive order.
h/t Think Progress