ST. PAUL, MN — The House speaker race on Capitol Hill has left unfinished business for weeks. And now, the threat of a government shutdown looms again. That would mean members of Congress would still collect salaries while other government employees would not.
So how much money do U.S. lawmakers make? And how is that determined? Good question.
Whether you’re in the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate, your current salary is $174,000 per year. This system applies to certain positions, such as majority and minority leaders, president pro tempore of the Senate, and speaker of the House of Representatives.
“Plus, they get travel expenses (credits) and they even get another house expense. This all sounds really, really great. People are saying, ‘Sign me for this job.’ ” said David Schultz, a constitutional law professor at Hamline University. .
How is a member of parliament’s salary determined?
“Salaries are determined according to two provisions of the Constitution: Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution states that members of the National Assembly shall be paid out of the national treasury, and Article 27 of the Constitution states that members and representatives shall be paid out of the national treasury. “The increase should not be paid until after the next election,” Schultz said.
Current salaries were last set in 2009. For 10 years before that year, like other federal employees, his salary increased slightly every year until he reached his effective salary. Members of Congress’ salaries are to increase annually, as mandated by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), this is “based on changes in private sector wages as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI).” Salary increases are automatic unless denied, and have been for the past 14 years.
In fact, members of Congress actually earn 29% less than they did in 2009 due to inflation, according to a recent report by CRS.
If Congress had granted annual raises since 2009, CRS says their annual salaries would have been pushed from $174,000 to $208,300 in 2023. But Congress continues to craft legislation that would freeze their paychecks.
Why does Congress continue to freeze salaries?
“We haven’t seen an uptick in support for the very reason that we have to face voters,” Schultz said. “Because no member of Congress is going to vote for their own pay raise right now, the next time the opposition will oppose them on that issue.”
Although there have been no raises in over 10 years, many members of Congress are not struggling with money. Many were doctors, lawyers, and business executives before taking office.
According to , financial disclosures in 2019 revealed that half of Congress members are billionaires. open secret.
And while she can’t keep her old, well-paying job while serving in the House or Senate, her net worth could continue to grow. That often happens through investment portfolios.
“We don’t want them to have a side job. Their loyalty is to the United States and their job should be full-time,” Schultz said.
Let’s go back to that complaint about Congress being paid even if the government is shut down. This is due to the provisions written in the constitution. For more information on the history of how Congress receives pay, including changes to how pay is adjusted, please visit click here.