Congress Cutting Everything But Their Own Pay and Benefits

With the August 1st announcement that congress is considering another round of defense budget cuts–which affect our military members as well as civilian employees working for the Department of Defense–and putting an end to civilian pensions for military retirees, I decided to research congressional pay and benefits. I hope you’ll be as astonished and agitated as I was at what I found.

Congressmen get paid $174,900 per year to work a scheduled 126 days in 2013! According to The Washington Post (2012), “June 2013 will be the House’s busiest month, with a whopping 16 days scheduled for legislative work in Washington. Lawmakers will meet for 14 days in July and October, 12 days in the months of March, April and May and nine days next September.” Oh dear, they have to work a whole 16 days in June, their busiest month!

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112th Freshman Class of Congress

And not only do they work an average of less than two weeks per month, they also receive from $1.5 million to over $3 million in an allowance to help defray personal, office, and mailing expenses!

Members of the House get a Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA)  of $1,3353,205 (“In 2012, individual representatives received MRA allowances ranging from $1,270,129 to $1,564,613, with an average of $1,353,205.13.”) and members of the Senate get a Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) (“In the fiscal year 2013 legislative branch appropriations bill, the size of the average Senate SOPOEA allowance is $3,209,103”). Furthermore, they are also not affected by the current sequestration; their salaries remain the same, even as most government employees are seeing a 20% decrease in salary due to this same sequestration that isn’t affecting congress!

And what do you think of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to a cut in congressional pay because “it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.” Do they deserve that dignity when they are proposing cuts everywhere else but in their own pockets? Does that seem fair to you? If not, you might want to consider taking action such as signing this petition to cut their benefits, or blog and tweet your opposition, or even send a letter to congress or the President. You are welcome to use the information in this blog in your letter. Here’s how to find your Representative, Senator and President. If you think it won’t do any good, think again! This is one of the best ways to have your opinion heard by our elected officials.

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