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House Dems move to give lawmakers a pay increase
« on: June 05, 2019, 09:59:59 AM »
House Dems move to give lawmakers a pay increase
By Cristina Marcos - 06/04/19 04:50 PM EDT

House Democrats will move forward with legislation to give members of Congress their first pay bump in a decade.

The House is expected to vote next week on a $1 trillion spending package that includes funding for annual legislative branch operations. That measure does not include language in effect since 2010 that prevented members of Congress from receiving an annual cost-of-living salary increase.

The House Appropriations Committee also unveiled an annual spending bill this week for financial services, executive branch and general government operations that similarly does not include the language to block a cost-of-living increase.

“An automatic cost of living adjustment for members of Congress is already included in federal law. There is strong bipartisan support for these modest inflation adjustments, and the Appropriations Committee is not including a provision to block the [cost-of-living adjustment] in fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills," House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said.

"If members want to alter or eliminate the COLA, they should do so through the authorizing process — not appropriations bills," Hollander said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has advocated to allow lawmakers to get a cost-of-living increase to ensure that Congress isn't limited to independently wealthy people who can afford the cost of two residences in their districts and Washington, where cost of living is high.

Rank-and-file members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, while members of leadership earn more. The Speaker makes the highest salary at $223,500 while the majority and minority leaders earn $193,400.

The Congressional Research Service estimated that the 2018 salary level for rank-and-file members of Congress would be $208,000 if they had received the annual cost-of-living increases.

The maximum lawmaker pay adjustment for January 2020, as established under a 1989 ethics law, is 2.6 percent, or $4,500. House Democrats have also proposed giving federal workers a 3.1 percent pay raise.

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