House Democrats are angling to unfreeze the cap on congressional salaries, which would result in a $4,500 cost-of-living raise next year.
Congress froze base congressional salaries at $174,000 during the recession in 2009. However, Democrat lawmakers are planning to capitalize on the chugging Trump economy by pushing to resume their previously automatic cost-of-living increases.
The party has scheduled a vote on a $1 trillion spending package next week that includes the annual bill funding congressional operations. The measure leaves out language in effect since 2010 that would prevent lawmakers from receiving an annual cost-of-living increase to the $174,000 base salary for rank-and-file lawmakers.
House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said there’s significant bipartisan support for such a measure.
“There is strong bipartisan support for these modest inflation adjustments,” Hollander said.
“If members want to alter or eliminate the [cost-of-living adjustment], they should do so through the authorizing process — not appropriations bills,” he added.
If all goes as Democrats hope, lawmakers will see a $4,500 raise (2.6 percent adjustment) next year.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged the difficulty of the change from an optics standpoint.
“I don’t have any intention of recommending that we turn it off,” Hoyer said, according to Bloomberg. “It’s not only having an effect on members of Congress, it’s compressing salary structure.”
“I don’t think there’s ever a time when people think it’s very good politically to do,” he continued. “In this present climate, where the president says we have one of the best economies in the entire history of the world, I don’t know.”
Lawmakers would make $208,000 base per year if not for the decade-long pause on automatic increases, Bloomberg reported.