Members of Congress Underpaid? Some say, “Yes.”

The average salary for the worker bees of America is about $48,000 annually. A member of congress makes $174,000 a year.  And that’s before benefits.

James_MoranIt seems Virginia House Democrat James P. Moran thinks he and his fellow congressman are being abused and not paid enough.  He plans to make sure this injustice is made known by adding on an amendment to the coming Legislative Branch bill.  He wants his voice heard in front of the full House of Representatives when it considers the bill. Moran told Roll Call, “I think the American people should know that members of Congress are underpaid.”  “This is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”  It seems on the state level most members of a state house get a per diem and he thinks the U.S. government is cheap and should do the same.

When I first saw this on Roll Call I thought it was a joke.  But, sadly it’s not.  Rep. Moran knows this won’t pass.  He just wants to bring the plight of those who serve in Congress to your attention. So I thought I’d bring their benefits to your attention.

  • $174,000 annually.  If you hold a job like Speaker of the House you get more.
  • Allowance.  This is the funny money that goes to maintaining their offices.  They get close to a million dollars for staff and another quarter of a million for office expenses, travel and the ever popular “franking.”  And no need to buy stamps.  They get free mail.
  • Office space is primo.  Senators, for example, can have offices over 8,000 square feet that you fund.  Plus, another $40,000 to outfit their office back in their home state.
  • A bonus tax deduction of $3000 for expenses while “working” outside their home state.  Nice.
  • They get the same health insurance coverage as other federal employees, which is probably better than your plan.
  • Pension?  401K?  You normally have a choice of one or the other.  Not a congressman.  They get both!  They can sign up for a 401K “thrift savings plan” with you matching their contributions up to 5%  The pension plan, members get an immediate full pension at 62 if they served 5 years or more (less than one term for a Senator).
  • Social Security.  That too.
  • To be fair, a member of Congress is always campaigning and fund raising, looking for the next dollar to buy a yard sign.  But, did you know the Senate is in session about 3 days a week?  Not counting the breaks for what they call “work periods.” They also take breaks for President’s Day, spring break, Memorial Day, 4th of July, a long summer break, a break in October for elections and a break during the holidays.  Do you get time off like this?  I thought so.

Moran, who is 69, is retiring after this term (that’s why he’s going rouge).  He’s been in Congress since 1990 and is an investment broker by trade.  He ranks as the 404th wealthiest member of Congress  with a net work of $8000.  And he’s an investment broker?

We deserve who we elect.

Investment broker?  Really?

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