House Democrats secretly approved a $34,000 pay raise for themselves in the year-end spending bill.
Posted on 14.1.2023
In the final days of the Democratic House majority, Democratic lawmakers quietly slipped a large salary increase for House members into their year-end spending bill.
The new rule gives lower house lawmakers, who already earn $174,000 a year, an additional $34,000 for housing, meals and other expenses while on official business in Washington.
Members of the House also receive annual stipends averaging about $1.27 million to staff and manage their offices.
If the current 440 members and delegates use the maximum amount of funds available, these reimbursements would amount to approximately $15.1 million.
The issue was not debated in the House because it was filed in the House Standing Orders and not in the Annual Expenditure Bills. For this reason, many members of the House have only just been made aware of this change.
On Tuesday, the House’s administrative director sent an email saying offices should wait for further guidance before submitting refund requests, alerting many lawmakers to the change for the first time.
Republican lawmakers are now arguing the issue should have been the subject of public debate, while supporters of the bill insist the increase is needed so more people can afford to serve in the Congress.
Former Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said he was disappointed the issue was not discussed in the House. He said, “You can have a good public policy debate about whether members of Congress should be paid more in order to attract a better bunch, and you can have a reasonable debate about inflation adjustments. , but it really should be done in public. »
In the commission’s final report on the new reimbursement rule, they shared their reasoning saying, “Unlike their executive and private sector counterparts, members do not receive a per diem or reimbursement for their expenses. subsistence while at work in Washington. »
Cushioning the costs for lawmakers when they have to travel to DC is a long-standing debate.
Many House members are required to have two residences, one in their home state and the other in Washington, which is a very expensive city to live in. Often, members share apartments with each other or sit on the sofa in their office in the Chamber. However, they still earn significantly more than the average American.