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IPFS News Link • Congress-Congressmen

Congress's Unconstitutional Pay Raise Scandal

• by James Bovard

There is a pity party in Washington: You weren't invited, but you'll pay the bill.

The Constitution's 27th Amendment, ratified in 1992, prohibits any law "varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives" from taking effect "until an election of representatives shall have intervened." But the Constitution wasn't permitted to impede the latest insider raid on the U.S. Treasury.

Thanks to a backroom deal, members of the House of Representatives can now claim automatic reimbursement of $258 a night for lodging expenses and $79 a day for meals in D.C. — even if they don't spend a dime. But though House members can pocket up to $34,000 a year in additional tax dollars, it's not a pay raise, because politicians are entitled to use false labels for everything they do.

Members of Congress are whining that they receive only $174,000 a year — more than triple the average U.S. salary and higher pay than 93 percent of what other Americans pocket. And it is a part-time job: The House of Representatives will be in session just 117 days this year. The New York Times reported, "Lawmakers, especially younger ones, have voiced concern about being able to afford to live in Washington, where they spend about a third of the year." Few Americans get six-figure salaries for part-time gigs.