Last week Representative Jim Moran (D-Va.) acknowledged that a majority of Americans think that he and his colleagues are doing a terrible job . But, he said, America’s lawmakers still need to be given a raise. A voice vote on Wednesday illustrated that the lawmaker’s Congressional counterparts either disagree or don’t want to be thrown out by voters.
Moran’s attempt to increase lawmaker compensation via an amendment to the legislative branch’s 2015 appropriations bill was overwhelmingly rejected in a House Appropriations Committee voice vote on Wednesday.
The amendment would have provided lawmakers with a $25 per day housing stipend, about a $2,800 raise for this year.
Moran, who reportedly lives just 10 miles from the Capitol, said that his amendment would only apply to lawmakers who live more than 50 miles from Washington, D.C.
The lawmaker’s main argument for the pay raise is that the current Congressional salary of $174,000 — plus travel and work-related expenses provided on the taxpayer dime — simply isn’t enough for the Nation’s political class to “live decently in Washington.”
Some lawmakers sleep in their offices while in D.C., and others are forced to live in “tiny” apartments in the city, Moran argued last week.
“You might ask why I am doing this. Certainly my staff has asked me this,” Moran said on the House floor.
The Congressman said that rent prices near the Capitol have doubled over the past decade and that repeated lawmaker pay freezes are creating a situation where only the wealthiest Americans can afford to be elected to office.
The clueless Congressman also said that, since announcing his initiative last week, his office had been inundated with calls from angry Americans. That isn’t particularly surprising considering that average Americans — a group whose collective median income is just over $50,000 a year — have consecutively rated Congress’ job performance at record lows.
“Almost all of them using obscene language…none of them supportive,” he added.
Moran is slated to retire at the end of this Congressional term.
The remainder of the 2015 legislative appropriations bill was passed once the pay raise amendment was defeated. The bill allots $3.3 billion for legislative operations in 2015, not including Senate expenditures.