3 Lawmakers Move to Prevent Pay Raise for Congress Members

3 Lawmakers Move to Prevent Pay Raise for Congress Members
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington on June 10, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Stacy Robinson
6/11/2024
Updated:
6/11/2024
Three Democrat lawmakers are urging Congressional leaders not to seek a pay raise for members of Congress this year as many Americans suffer from a rising cost-of-living.
“In Washington, we must be working every day to help lift those folks up and ensure their hard work pays off, not scheming on how to give ourselves a raise,” Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Eric Sorenson (D-Ill.), and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) wrote in a letter to leaders of a House Appropriations subcommittee.

The June 5 letter urges the members to insert language into the 2025 budget proposal stipulating that “no adjustment shall be made” to the salaries of members of Congress.

The letter, addressed to the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), and ranking member, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), said Congress should pass legislation to address more pressing issues, such as “rising costs at the grocery store and pump, addressing security at the southern border and ensuring economic opportunity for farmers and small businesses in our districts.”

Lawmakers have not had a cost-of-living raise since 2009. Salaries for members have remained steady at $174,000, with higher rates for speaker and leadership positions.

Pay increases have been scheduled, but shot down, nearly every year since 2009. Language has been included in every budget since that year forbidding a pay increase, a pattern the three lawmakers would like to continue.

Congress looked poised to give itself a raise for fiscal year 2024. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) said that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) supported amending the Legislative Branch spending bill to allow a pay rise, but that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) killed the effort.

The 27th Amendment of the Constitution prevents a Congressional pay rise from taking effect until the session after it is approved.
While some members of Congress oppose an increase, others say it is justified. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote on X (formerly Twitter) in 2019 that denying cost-of-living increases for Congress “increases pressure on them to keep dark money loopholes open” and “makes campaign finance reform harder.”
She reiterated her stance in January, adding “I know it’s kind of a contrarian position.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Reps. Espaillat and Valadao for comment but received no reply as of publication time