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A lonely call for a Congressional pay raise

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As the U.S. House on Tuesday moves to approve next year’s budget for the Legislative Branch, that measure will again block any pay raise for the Congress, leaving members at a salary of $174,000 in 2016.

For one veteran Democrat, it is a pay freeze that makes no sense.

“Members don’t like to talk about it, but it’s kind of a sad state of affairs,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), who argues that the Congress risks being a body of only rich people if Congressional salaries aren’t increased.

“The cost of living here is causing serious problems,” Hastings said at a meeting of the House Rules Committee.

Hastings told of how he had to move from his apartment not far from the Capitol – because the rent had gone up to $3,100 a month; he managed to find another building for $2,100.

The pay for lawmakers has been at $174,000 since 2009, and will stay that way – though you have to know what you are looking for to find that provision in this year’s Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.

As for the call by Rep. Hastings for a pay raise, it was met with silence from others in the room, who didn’t exactly rush to the side of the Florida Democrat.

Hastings didn’t say what he thought the pay of lawmakers should be increased to – he could have offered an amendment to change that, but acknowledged it would go nowhere.


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