House Democrats want to increase their annual pay by $4,500, but it’s definitely not a raise.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, leading the charge for the pay bump, explained to reporters Tuesday that pay raises are constitutionally prohibited from taking effect until the next Congress, which is why the $4,500 annual increase included in Democrats’ 2020 spending bill is actually an “adjustment,” not a raise.
House spending leaders want to have Congress members’ salaries bumped up an extra $4,500 next year.
Congressional salaries have been frozen at about $174K since 2009 https://t.co/eeDjXKTli3
— POLITICO (@politico) June 4, 2019
Hoyer argued the so-called cost of living adjustment is not technically the same thing as a raise, according The Washington Examiner.
“That was taken to court; the court ruled it was not a pay raise, it was an adjustment on an annual basis for inflation,” the number two Democrat said.
Democrats introduced a Financial Services spending bill to add $4,500 to lawmakers’ $174,000 annual salary, a move Hoyer claims is necessary to keep up with the high cost of living and a law that requires members to make more than their staff.
“It’s not only having an effect on members of Congress, it’s compressing salary structure,” he said.
Ironically, Hoyer credited the roaring economy under President Trump as justification for the “adjustment.”
“I don’t think there’s ever a time when people think it’s very good politically to do,” he said. “In this present climate, where the president says we have one of the best economies in the entire history of the world, I don’t know.”
Democrats point out that lawmakers would be making $208,000 per year by now if the decade of pay freezes had not been put into effect (in 2010) and that the median single family home price in Capitol Hill has increased 58 percent in the last decade.
Top congressional staff would also receive a raise under the plan since their pay cannot exceed the amount lawmakers receive.
Even if House Democrats approve the legislation, Republicans in the Senate, and perhaps even some Democrat senators, are expected to shoot it down.
Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, doesn’t seem to think lawmakers deserve the “adjustment,” at least not until they can accomplish something.
“No budget, no raise. Instead of writing a budget or reforming our bankrupt entitlement programs, House Democrats are angling for a pay raise,” Sasse said in a statement Tuesday. “These jokers couldn’t hold down a summer job at Dairy Queen pulling this kind of crap.”
“I think the American people, if you polled them, would think that Congress ought to earn it first,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby told reporters Monday.
“I doubt it’ll pass if we vote on it,” Louisiana’s Sen. John Kennedy, chairman of the Appropriations Financial Services subcommittee, told Bloomberg.
Even Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine confirmed the “adjustment” isn’t something the Senate is discussing.
“I certainly haven’t had any discussion about it on the Senate side,” he said.