WASHINGTON, D.C. Lawmakers are pumping the breaks on plans to raise their own pay by thousands of dollars. But supporters say it’s not off the table just yet.
House Majority Leader Democrat Steny Hoyer put this week’s pay raise vote on hold so that he and Republican leaders can gather support.
Some Congress members are still against the pay raise.
“I don’t think that we should be focusing on an issue like whether our pay should increase,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va.
Spanberger is one of more than a dozen lawmakers vowing to block a $4,500 pay raise for members of Congress.
Right now most lawmakers make $174,000 a year. Spanberger says Congress should be focusing instead on passing policy reforms.
“I am putting the needs of my constituents and the priorities of my constituents ahead of anything that is focused solely on me,” Rep. Spanberger said.
But Republicans and Democratic lawmakers who support the raise argue this isn’t about them but about their staff. By law, Congressional staffer’s can’t get a raise unless members do. Something that hasn’t happened in a decade.
Even though staffers often research and write the bills lawmakers propose. They only make an average of $50,000 a year. That’s not much in one of the country’s most expensive cities.
“Frankly, we have constituents across our states and country who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Rep. Spanberger.
While Spanberger may not agree, the idea is still gaining traction. A former staffer to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan took Twitter to support a raise. He says low pay is having a “negative effect on Congress.”
Hoyer agrees, saying he’ll continue to strive for higher pay to attract the “best and brightest.”