Congressional Reform Act of 2011
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Congressional Reform Act of 2011-Fiction!

Summary of the eRumor:  
This is an email that contains a list of ideas "to fix congress" and tells the reader to forward it to 20 people in their address books.   Among these ideas are setting term limits, changing government pension plans, mandating congressional participation in Social Security, stopping congressional pay raises and making elected officials accountable for their actions. 

Some versions of this eRumor say that millionaire Warren Buffett is asking readers to forward this email.
 

The Truth:  
The "Congressional Reform Act of 2011" is not a real bill in Congress but it is a passionate plea for change on behalf of concerned citizens hoping to get the word out across the World Wide Web. 

This eRumor first appeared on the Internet in January 2011.  Later, in October 2011, versions with an inserted quote by business millionaire Warren Buffett began circulating and also said that he was requesting all readers to forward the email. 

The Buffett quote is real and taken from a transcript of an interview on CNBC on July 7, 2011.  Buffett gave a humorous quick solution to fix the problems of the deficit and Congress during a live interview.  Buffett jokingly said, "I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there's a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. Yeah, yeah, now you've got the incentives in the right place, right?"

TruthOrFiction.Com has found no evidence that Warren Buffett has made such a plea to forward this email on the Internet.

We do not know who wrote this email other than a concerned citizen who wanted to change Congress. This call for citizen action first appeared on the Internet shortly after the 112th Congress was sworn in on January 5, 2011. Days later it began moving through the World Wide Web like wild fire.

The writer of the email is apparently passionate about his recommendation but failed to give any directions as to where all these forwarded emails could be sent to do any good.

We found some of the claims from the list to be inaccurate:

Congressional representatives are exempt from paying into Social Security - Fiction!
Elected representatives are not exempt from paying into Social Security. We have findings posted in a related eRumor.   Click for findings.
 

Congressional representatives are above the law- Fiction!
Congressional representatives are not above the law. Here are some recent examples of those who have been caught, tried and convicted:

In early January 2010 former GOP Congressman Tom Delay was sentenced to 3 years in prison after being found guilty for his participation in a scheme to illegally funnel corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.  

Three years later, a Texas court overturned Delay's conviction, "saying prosecutors failed to prove that he broke the law in a fundraising scandal from the 2002 elections."  This according to a September 19, 2013 article by USA Today.  The article also said that the  District Attorney for Travis County plans appeal the decision.


James A. Traficant, an Ohio Democrat, was expelled from Congress after being found guilty of bribery and racketeering. Traficant served seven years behind bars in a Minnesota prison and was released in 2009.

Congressional representatives are exempt from Health Care policies- Fiction!
Congressional representatives are not exempt from the healthcare reform law.

Congressional representatives have been voting themselves cost of living pay raises- Fiction!
Cost of living salary increases for congressional members have been automatically generated in the past, but some members have been known to voluntarily opt out of it. Members of Congress have not gotten a raise in pay in the last 2 years while the US has been facing hard economic times. Also, the 111th Congress, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, voted to stop the automatic pay raise for the last two consecutive years. President Obama signed the last bill into law on May 14, 2010, which will affect congressional pay raises in 2011, according to a May 14th article by the congressional newspaper, The Hill. The article also said, "The base pay for House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, though leaders earn a higher salary. The cost-of-living increase would have given lawmakers a $1,600 raise in 2011. By rescinding the increase, lawmakers saved taxpayers $850,000 for next year."  Click for article.


TruthOrFiction.Com has not found that this type of email has had any influence on the decisions of elected leaders.


Posted 10/18/2011   Updated 10/1/2013

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Original Version:
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure. I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms

B. Six Two-year House terms

C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are
out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves! Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time to act.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS !!!

If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete. You are one of my 20+. Please keep this going...


Warren Buffett Version:

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*_

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the rest of the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans can.


4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with the members of Congress. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it on to at least 20 others.. Please keep it going.

 


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