Self-appointed salary increase for federal judges to cost $ 1 billion

Federal employees are used to Congress limiting their pay increases.

For three years in a row, lawmakers have decided that the federal government does not deserve any increase; Congress has since agreed to provide some of the smallest pay increases in recent history.

For some federal employees, however, federal judges ruled that Congress did not have the power to block pay increases. Which employees are they? Why, federal judges, of course!

In several recent court decisions, judges have ruled that the salary freezes imposed by Congress in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010 were illegal. Specifically, Beer c. United States and Barker v. United States Determined lawmakers could not block salary increases for judge positions established under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which includes district, appeals, and international trade courts, as well as the Supreme Court.

In response to a request from Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Congressional Budget Office mentionned 1,330 Article III judges are entitled to salary increases, 300 to pension adjustments and 1,600 to restitution following court decisions. Since the salaries of many non-Article III judges are linked to the salaries of those affected by the decisions, more than 3,000 additional salary increases, annuity adjustments and restitutions must be paid.

In total, the CBO said the judges will receive a collective additional salary of $ 1 billion over the next 10 years. About a quarter of this amount will go to restitution payments for salary increases that should have been granted previously.

The billion dollars comes from “mandatory funding,” which means Congress won’t have to incur additional expenses to pay judges. Some of the changes for non-Article III judges, however, will require an additional $ 190 million to come from discretionary funds.

Salaries for Article III judges range from approximately $ 200,000 for district judges to $ 255,500 for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The salary of district judges increased by 14% from 2013 to 2014 due to the promulgation of various salary increases that had previously been denied.

Predatory loans

The Obama administration has announced measures to expand protections for members of the military against bad loans.

The 2006 Military Loan Act established what the Pentagon now calls “tight” guards against institutions that defraud service members with high interest rates and intentionally damaging advances. The law targeted three products: certain closed payday loans, closed auto title loans and closed tax refund anticipation loans. This specificity of the law has allowed some lenders to modify their offers so that they fall outside the scope of the regulations, “diminishing the full impact of the legislation”, according to the Pentagon. Some lenders charge triple-digit interest rates, the Pentagon said, offered in showcases “clustered outside military installations.”

In a recent post proposed rule, the Department of Defense suggested extending the 2006 law to cover all loans, as set out in the 1968 Truth in Lending Act. This would include both open and closed products. It would also expand the types of loans subject to the 26% interest rate cap. Certain types of loans, such as those secured by home loans and money purchase loans, would be excluded.

The Pentagon said the extension would create more durable protections, simplify lenders’ disclosure obligations, and allow them to determine whether borrowers are covered by the MLA through an online database.

Congress ordered the Defense to establish additional protections against predatory lending in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Military families are considered particularly vulnerable to unfair lending practices because they move frequently, and as a result of not keeping good finances could be called dishonorable conduct.

(Image via zimmytws / Shutterstock.com)

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