Does Congress Deserve a Pay Hike?by Tim Manni
Under an ethics law passed 1989, members of Congress are in line to receive an automatic pay hike every year. A lot of people don’t think they deserve it this time around:
A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.
Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.
“As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain,” said Daniel O’Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan group. …
Currently the average lawmaker makes $169,300 a year, with leadership making slightly more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) makes $217,400, while the minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate make $188,100.
What isn’t widely known is the dizzying array of perks that Congressfolk receive in addition to their salaries:
Pension benefits that are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for similarly-salaried executives. Taxpayers directly cover at least 80 percent of this costly plan. Congressional pensions are also inflation-protected, a feature that fewer than 1 in 10 private plans offer.
Health and life insurance, approximately 3/4 and 1/3 of whose costs, respectively, are subsidized by taxpayers.
Wheeled perks, including limousines for senior Members, prized parking spaces on Capitol Hill, and choice spots at Washington’s two major airports.
Congressional salaries place them in the top six percent of American households — “the rich,” in other words. Nice work, if you can get elected (or appointed) to Congress.