Pay raises for Congress

March 18, 2019

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is calling for a Congressional pay raise since salaries have been frozen since 2009 and "Americans ought to have our nation’s diversity of economic backgrounds better reflected in this House."  That's right: politicians should get more money because...diversity!  Allow him to try to make sense of that:

“The cost of rent, child care and other necessities has risen substantially in Washington and across the country in recent years, but members and staff pay and benefits have not kept pace with the private sector. If we want to attract a more diverse group of Americans to run for office and work on Capitol Hill, we need to make it possible for them to do so."

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/434159-lawmakers-contemplate-a-tough-political-sell-raising-their-pay

Put aside the fact that many of the wealthy politicians now in office weren’t so wealthy when they came to Washington, but somehow got that way while doing “public service” (Bernie Sanders even became a millionaire and the owner of three houses while he was a socialist public servant.)  Since he brought up "keeping pace with the private sector," let’s compare the salaries of Congress members to the private sector.

Representatives and Senators make $174,000 a year.  The Majority and Minority Leaders in both chambers make $193,400, and the House Speaker makes $223,500.  The median household income (not individual, but household) in America is $61,372. 

Considering the skills required of a Congress member compared to those required of people in the private sector, I don’t think they’re being underpaid.  In fact, I could name someone who probably deserved to be paid more as a bartender but is wildly overpaid as a Congress member. 

I have a feeling Hoyer’s plea for a raise will not be met with sympathy from his employers (we taxpayers.)  If you had an employee who went wildly over budget, couldn’t handle the most basic responsibilities of the job (such as securing the borders) and spent all day long fighting with and name-calling his colleagues and looking for his next promotion, would you give him a raise? 

Besides, we have to think about protecting these poor politicians’ souls. According to stats compiled by this site…

https://wallethacks.com/average-median-income-in-america/

…anyone who earns above $130,000 is in the top five percent of wage earners in America.  Earn more than $250,000, and you’re a “one percenter.”  Nancy Pelosi is perilously close already, just from her Speaker’s salary (and with her vast personal wealth, surely she’s already in it.) 

Considering how eeeeeevil those rich one-percenters are, and how they’re the cause of all our problems and deserve to have their wealth confiscated and redistributed because of their arrogance and privilege, it would be downright mean to force our Congress members to become a part of that class they hate so much by giving them a pay raise.  In fact, if we really want them to represent the people the way they say they want to, how about cutting their pay to $61,372 a year and see how well they get by on it?  Of course, they won’t get the full $61,372 a year.  That’s before taxes. 

Another good reason for a Congressional pay cut: if Nancy Pelosi got $61,372 a year and still had to pay taxes, I’ll bet a $1,000 tax cut wouldn’t seem like “crumbs” to her anymore. 

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Comments 1-10 of 10

  • Brent Millard

    03/19/2019 03:20 PM

    No pay raise!! Maybe private sector has to PASS a balanced budget. Pay cut for Congress and build a giant apartment complex so they don't need to buy a house in DC. That apartment becomes a part of third compensation package in congress. 50 to 60K is plenty!!

  • Theresa smith

    03/19/2019 12:59 PM

    The only thing I agree with is the fact that rent, utilities, groceries etc have indeed gone up. But I daresay that Congress and the Senate fair much better than those of us on disability and social security in this country. At least they have a livable wage whereas those on disability/social security are just a very small step away from making our homes on the street. Consider $500 mo rent (hovel), avg $385 utilities (no internet or cable), medical and prescription co-pays avg $50, gas for vehicle $75 (old beater car no car pmt) insurance for that old beater car $53, leaving remainder for food/household necessaties. All that out of $1204 monthly income. And I'm one of the lucky ones who is on the higher end of the scale.
    Is there anyone in Congress who can live on this? Very doubtful
    I suggest those in Congress thank there lucky stars for what they do have and repeat this as their daily mantra
    " There but for the grace of God, go I."

  • Douglas Morgan

    03/19/2019 11:34 AM

    There is something really corrupt when a person will spend millions of dollars, subject his/her family to all sorts of hatred and slander, commit hundreds of unethical and illegal actions and say hurtful and slanderous things about opponents (and their family members), to get a job that pays $174,000 per year. Our representatives and Senators should have performance based compensation based upon the approval of constituents they serve. AND there should be a term limit of one term for about 6 years.

    One might say that if that were the case, we wouldn't have many qualified people run for the job! I say, "look at the current crop of candidates!" I rest my case.

  • Rhonda Teets

    03/18/2019 09:38 PM

    Congress needs to get there heads out of their ...! I do believe a pay cut is definitely needed, but why even pay them the median family income? 30,500 and not one is worth more! Just think what a big beautiful wall that savings would make! Take away their pensions and government health care! Let them make ends meet on 30,500 per year!!! Why in the world do they even think they deserve a raise? Just UNBELIEVABLE! They don’t do their jobs and want a raise! Any employer would have fired the majority of them if they actually held down a real job! How about paying back the 716 Billion dollars Obama raided from Medicare to pay for Obamacare!!!! Immigration reform!!! Pass New laws where it doesn’t make it almost impossible to fire a government employee! Voter identification! How about paying families social security money for those like my father who paid in all his life, but died and only received a few payments! Almost 50 years paid in and only a few thousand dollars received! My mom could definitely use his share! Refugees who received free handouts from American taxpayers and are now working should have to repay every penny! It astounds me that a Refugee who is here by the grace of GOD making 174,000 should have to pay back every penny!!!

  • Barbara Bryan

    03/18/2019 05:16 PM

    Congress has for many years feathered it's own nest, so to speak. No place else in the country are "employees" allowed to set their own salary, give themselves long breaks from work, set the amount and requirements for retirement, have their own insurance policies, have available to them a gym, and all other kinds of perks. Not to mention they can make a lifetime of the job. Many members of congress are long past the retirement age for most people. What are they doing still there? All this to say----they do not need a raise.


  • David Langley

    03/18/2019 04:52 PM

    The money that President Trump needs to build his wall can be easily procured by leveling all Congressional pay to the level of household income. They deserve no mpre or less. Also take away all the perks and let them fend for themselves finding dental and health are.

  • Daniel Paul

    03/18/2019 03:13 PM

    Any pay raise should be voted on during the November election by the voters. Let's see what the people would give them. The money that may be allocated for their raise could be much better spent in the areas of education, healthcare, vets benefits or helping the homeless get a fresh start. Don't spend money on a person that is leaching off the taxpayer with the self-serving interest of wealth and power and has no interest of making the United States a better place. There will never be term limits for these fools. Why???? Because they would need to put a bill on the floor that would pass making it a law. It would never get enough votes much less ever make it out of the casual.discussion mode. Not going to happen....ever... They love their money and power and will do whatever it takes and I do mean WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep the advantage they have, the power they wield, and the i'll gotten money they have stolen from "We the People".

  • Paul T.Kern

    03/18/2019 03:04 PM

    Whoever thought a congress man/woman/it needs so much.If a bartender can do it, my senior cat is truly overqualified.

  • james randolph

    03/18/2019 02:47 PM

    Hey Mike -
    I know their counter-argument to your opinion....
    ...
    "IF YOU PAY US A LOT MORE, WE WOULD NOT BECOME CORRUPT, AND OWNED BY LOBBYISTS AND SPECIAL INTERESTS."
    "WE WOULD BE CONTENT WITH OUR SALARY, AND NOT COVETOUS OR GREEDY EVER AGAIN."
    "PAY US ENOUGH SO WE CAN TO AFFORD TO BE VIRTUOUS..."

  • phil umek

    03/18/2019 01:21 PM

    "Public Service" was what it used to be called because congress members were NOT PAID! They donated their time for the good of their country! There is no "Public Service" in $180,000.00 per year particularly with the amount of time they are NOT in session. It is a part time gig! Even if they did their jobs, expenses, real expenses, that have to be approved should be the only compensation. If you need a job...quit and go get one! They probably are unemployable! And you can forget the life time pensions for all of them after a few years doing nothing but begging for their jobs. Imagine how efficient congress would function if they were not paid! they would get things done and go home. It's not like they have to ride a horse or buggy back home. Donate a few years of your time and then GET OUT! You are completely replaceable NOT invaluable!