BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Slashing salaries for the president and members of Congress and freezing all pending federal regulations are part of a far-reaching plan detailed Tuesday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry said is needed to give Washington a "complete overhaul."
Perry, seeking to regain traction in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, also vowed to cut congressional staffs, end lifetime appointments of federal judges and dismantle "wasteful, redundant federal agencies," including the departments of Commerce, Education and Energy.
"It's time to tear down the monuments of bureaucratic failure," Perry said as he unveiled his plan at a Bettendorf manufacturing plant that sits at the edge of the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa.
Perry visited Iowa on Monday and Tuesday as part of his efforts to shore up his political base in advance of the critical Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
A strong showing in the caucuses is critical for Perry to climb back into the race. He enjoyed a brief stint as the Republican frontrunner after entering the race in mid-August, but has since slipped into single digits after a series of stumbles in Republican debates.
There were no mentions of Perry's infamous "oops" moment in a debate last week as he called for closing the commerce, education and energy departments, which have a combined annual budget of more than $100 billion.
Perry committed what has been described as one of the worst gaffes in debate history when he was unable to remember the Energy Department as one of the three agencies he wants to eliminate.
Perry left no corner of the Washington establishment untouched as he pledged to transform and shrink the federal government, which also has been one of his favorite targets during his nearly 11-year tenure as governor.
Playing on the nation's dim views of the performance of Congress and the White House, he called for a freeze on federal salaries until the budget is balanced and said he would also cut the current $400,000 presidential salary in half until that goal is reached.
He also would halve the current $174,000 annual salaries for members of Congress not in leadership positions. He envisions a part-time Congress, in which members are encouraged to spend more time at home in their districts, and work "real jobs" outside of the Capitol.
"Congress is out of touch because congressmen are overpaid, over-staffed and away from home too much," Perry said.