Pay Raise for Congress Is Laughable [OPINION]
So, this is a real thing. Some members of Congress are preparing to demand more money. Really! Secretly,many more want a pay raise but are simply too embarrassed to say so publicly. Can you blame them?
Because many members of Congress were selling their souls and God knows what else for lofty speaking fees, the body voted in 1989 to forbid the practice in favor of an annual pay increase. I guess they felt you wouldn't mind being bribed in exchange for their behaving in an ethical manner.
In 2009, when the economy tanked, members got nervous about giving themselves annual pay raises and since that time have voted each year to waive the pay hike. That was then.
With the economy booming thanks to President Trump's Administration, a handful of members of Congress are feeling a little less squeamish about vocalizing their support for a pay raise. Members this year would be due a $4,000 salary increase should they find the guts to accept it.
Many argue that the cost of housing and living in general is outrageous in Washington, and it is difficult to maintain a home there and back in the district as well. A solid argument. They say that the low pay of $174,000 discourages good candidates from running and is responsible for a number of recent retirements.
Any congressional pay raise should be merit-based. I don't think many folks could honestly say they are pleased with the job Congress is doing. Members of Congress have accomplished precious little in recent years and seem to do nothing more than play partisan games. They have done little to justify a pay raise.
Congress should be embarrassed about taking more money. Maybe once the circus tent comes down on Capitol Hill, and members get serious about the people's business, we can entertain the idea of pay increases.
But for now, they don't even earn what they are currently being paid.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.