Last year Virginia Democrat (and all around bad guy) Jim Moran (D-VA) made some pretty remarkable (and wrong-headed) comments about members of Congress not being paid well enough.
There are too many members living and sleeping in their offices and it’s wrong. They can’t afford to live here and it’s wrong,” Moran told his appropriations committee colleagues. “I understand that is widely felt that [members] under perform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world and a lot of members can even afford to live decently when they are at their job in Washington,” he said.
But the truth is that members of Congress are paid more than enough. The average Congressional salary is $174,000 a year…
I think the greater issue here is that our Congressmen “earn” $174,000 a year for their part-time work. That is more than three times the median household income (About $51K) in the United States. But we pay for more than just their salary. We pay for their healthcare, their official (and sometimes unofficial) travel, we pay for their security, their retirement, and even PERSONAL SPENDING accounts.
I thought that the debate over Congressional compensation had worked itself out and that most of these politicians had started to realize that they get compensated far better than most of their constituents… but I was wrong. With Jim Moran (D-VA) finally out of Congress, it seems that the job of advocating for more money has fallen to his fellow Democrat Alcee Hastings (D-FL).
On Monday during a Rules Committee meeting the Congressman took a few minutes to whine about his income.
(As you read this – remember that the average Congressman makes $174,000 before all of the ancillary benefits that they receive, including completely subsidized healthcare, travel and business expenses.)
“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid, and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution. We aren’t being paid properly.
This institution is heading toward elitism. And that’s crazy. I think it will ultimately lead to a serious morale problem.”
Hastings also said that Congress members “are going to be unable to send their children to college” on their current salaries.
Hastings is the representative from Florida’s 20th District, which contains some poverty stricken parts of southern Florida; the average household income in Palm Beach County (which is part of Hastings district) is less than $55,000 a year… which means that Hastings makes more than 3 times the money of his average constituent. More than 3 times. It is ridiculous for any Congressman to attempt to make the argument that they aren’t paid enough for the work that they do. Ridiculous.
Thankfully we still have some Congressmen with a bit of shame. Representatives like Ron DeSantis, (R-FL) also of Florida, who can bring some sanity back to the discussion. DeSantis was incredulous when he remarked about Alcee Hastings ridiculous comments via his Facebook page:
My first bill to pass the House early in my freshman term blocked a pay increase for members of Congress. Our nation is facing serious problems and a pay increase for Congress is a terrible idea.
In spite of this pay freeze, some complain that members somehow have it tough making $174,000 a year. Please. We have millions of American families struggling to make ends meet. The last thing they want to hear is members of the political class complaining about how “tough” they have it.
It really is disgusting. The average American income is less than $45,000 a year, but somehow Hastings has the audacity to complain that his salary of nearly $200K a year is just not enough. The Democrat Party in general really has no shame, but Rep. Hastings (like Moran before him) is almost unparalleled in his willingness to be utterly shameless.