Letter to the Editor

Is Congress overpaid?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Is Congress overpaid?

To the Editor:

Did you know, The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi receives an annual salary of $223,500 per year? And what have taxpayers received from her to benefit the country in the last 3 years? Nothing but resistance for every policy put forth. The standard salary for a member of Congress is $174,000 per year! Members of Congress also receive a pension for up to 80% of their salary depending on how long they have served. They become eligible after 5 years in office. They can earn outside income of up to 15% of their salary. They receive up to $10,000 in subsides from taxpayers to help pay their health care. The total benefit package is estimated to be worth $200,000 per year. That puts every Member of Congress in the top 3% of America for income.

Congress schedules about 124 days of legislating per year, compared to the average American worker who works 240 days a year. Members of Congress work about 2.4 days a week! Do you think this level of congressional pay is justified?

Congress says they work hard because they spend 2.6 days a week meeting with constituents and raising money for re-election. Why do taxpayers have to pay for their re-election? Taxpayers should not be required to pay for meeting with their constituents and conducting fund raising for their next election. Don't you think term limits would eliminate this problem?

A member of Congress or Congressional staffer can be ticketed to become very wealthy as a lobbyist. According to OpenSecrets.org, 427 former members of Congress are now lobbyist. Almost 5400 former Congressional staffers have left Capitol Hill to become federal lobbyist in just 10 years. One report found that they get a 1452% (no this is not a typo) pay raise when they become lobbyist. Former Congressman Billy Tauzi was paid almost $5 Million per year to lobby for drug companies. Should these people be prohibited by law from accepting a job for at least 7 years after leaving office? Do we need lobbyist? Would this law help make government more honest and less corrupt?

From 1789-1815, members of Congress were paid $6 while Congress was in session. They were paid $8 while in session from 1818-1855. The Founding Fathers envisioned that being a Congressman was a part-time job! For the last 2+ years we have paid them for full time work and have gotten very little from them. Maybe we should pay them on merit system, perhaps that would get these folks moving instead "resisting" every policy put forth. This why I think term limits is a must. This move would certainly "drain the swamp."

(Research from The Conservation Caucus)

Stella Adcock


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