They may not have known it, but members of Congress voted this week to freeze their own pay for another year.
Buried inside the more than 5,000 pages of the coronavirus spending bill that was unveiled and approved by lawmakers in less than 24 hours on Monday is language blocking the automatic cost of living increase called for in the law.
“Hardworking Americans across the country do not receive automatic raises every year, and neither should Congress. Congress needs a reality check, not a raise,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania Republican.
That leaves lawmakers’ salaries at $174,000 a year.
The last raise came in 2009, when it rose from $169,300.
Under the law members of Congress are supposed to get an automatic cost-of-living adjustment each year. But with the popularity of Congress in the dumps, and gridlock dominating Capitol Hill for the past decade, lawmakers have been reluctant to be seen hiking their own pay.
Besides, said Rep. Jared Golden, Maine Democrat, many of their constituents are living on far less.