Alcee Hastings: What’s wrong with Congress is we’re underpaid

Alcee Hastings: What’s wrong with Congress is we’re underpaid
Credit: Tom Williams/Roll Call

[Ed. – He can’t live on $174,000?]

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings made the politically tone-deaf case for raising salaries for members of Congress Monday, pointing to the high cost of living in the District of Columbia.

“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,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added.

The committee was considering the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill, which sets the spending levels for Congress and legislative branch agencies. The bill includes a freeze on member pay, continuing one that has been in place since 2010 — and last year drew the ire of then-Rep. James P. Moran.

Griping about members of Congress being “underpaid” put the Virginia Democrat at the center of an ongoing debate about congressional pay. Moran pitched a “very modest” housing stipend to help cover the high cost of living in the District — $25 for each day the House is in session, or about $2,800 annually.

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