Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, facing a tough challenge from former GOP Rep. Doug Ose, has released a TV ad that reintroduces him to voters and seeks to make the case that he’s delivered on his campaign promises. The 30-second ad, “ People Come First,” which is running in the suburban Sacramento district, touches on the congressman donating his pay to charity during the partial federal government shutdown.
Following is text of the ad and an analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau.
Narrator: To Dr. Ami Bera, a promise made is a promise kept. Because people not politics come first. Bera championed a bill that says if Congress doesn’t do its job, it shouldn’t get paid. So when Republicans in Congress forced a government shutdown, Bera donated his federal pay. And Bera kept his promise by refusing to take a pay raise. Dr. Ami Bera. Because people come first.
Analysis: Bera co-sponsored HR 310, a stalled version of the No Budget, No Pay Act, and he later joined others in calling for a permanent law.
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A version of No Budget, No Pay legislation, HR 325, was supported by Bera and signed by President Barack Obama on Feb. 4, 2013, as part of the debt ceiling deal. The ad, however, glosses over the fact that the successful version applied only to a single financial year and was mostly ceremonial because it was designed to withhold pay only temporarily, regardless of whether a budget was passed.
Bera’s donations from the 16-day shutdown were $2,400 to the Reading Partners and $2,400 to the Children’s Miracle Network-UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The amount was roughly in line with other members who reported giving their “after-tax” salaries to charity. For example, Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii reported donating $5,400 to Meals on Wheels while Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico gave $3,715 to a veterans center.
Bera supported a bipartisan spending plan crafted by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. He has, however, opposed at least a dozen budget proposals.
Congress has not given itself a pay raise since Bera took office. He voted in favor of a measure freezing pay.