You’d think this comes straight out of the satiricle website The Onion, but sadly no – this is real life.
Congress wants a pay raise.
Congress members think they’re not being paid enough and so we’d better just increase their salaries.
Are you kidding me?
Sadly, I’m not.
And look who’s leading the charge:
Perhaps the most absurd part of the story is their logic behind the pay raise.
Democrats say they need a raise because otherwise they'll have to turn to "grey areas" to raise cash.
What a ridiculous and even criminal statement!
If we don't pay you more, you'll just turn to illegal activities to get whatever cash you want?
Oh, I'm sorry, no that was "gray areas".
That's not how this works Congress, that's not how any of this works!
I want more cash too, but it doesn't mean I can just go Walter White and start selling the blue meth!
Do we have a Congress full of criminals?
Who talks like this?
Who makes threats like this?
Here is more, from RT:
Living in Washington DC is expensive. For US lawmakers, that means it’s time to give themselves a pay raise. But with confidence in politics at a miserable low, selling a raise to the public could be an uphill battle.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) called for the raise on Wednesday, in remarks to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. A pay raise, he said would ensure that elected representatives who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds can live comfortably in Washington DC.
"Americans ought to have our nation’s diversity of economic backgrounds better reflected in this House,” he said.
Members of Congress have had their salaries frozen since 2009, but still earn considerably more than the average American. Senators and Representatives take home $174,000 per year, with party leaders on both houses earning $193,000, and the Speaker of the House topping the scale at $223,500.
Meanwhile, the median American household income in the US was $59,039 in 2017.
Living in Washington DC is expensive. Renters there pay a median rent of $2,700 per month, and the average home costs $585,000, according to real-estate website Zillow. That’s nearly twice the national median of $1,695 to rent and $278,000 to buy. Likewise, the cost of food and transportation in DC outstrips the national average by up to 45 percent.
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) complained about DC’s cost of living when she was elected in November. Ocasio-Cortez again angled for better pay in a tweet on Wednesday, arguing that lower pay makes staffers flee to lobbyists and members turn to more legally gray avenues“for the extra cash.”
To confirm the story, here's the official transcript of remarks from House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), from the official House Gov. Website:
“One of the ways I believe we can achieve those goals is by giving Members the opportunity to have a greater say in directing spending toward critical public projects in their communities. Yes – I’m talking about restoring earmarks, which I believe can be great instruments of good when done in a way that is fully transparent and accountable. When Democrats were last in the majority, we reformed the earmark process substantially, requiring Members to post all their earmark requests online and justify every dollar. We banned earmarks to private entities and required Members to certify they had no financial interest as well.
“Transparency and accountability fixed what was wrong with earmarks in earlier
years. Eliminating them altogether, which was a winning talking point but a misguided policy, has had the effect of taking Congress out of key funding decisions. No executive branch official knows a district and its needs better than that district’s Representative. I believe it is time to bring earmarks back with the reforms Democrats instituted.
“I also believe it is time to address the issue of Member and staff pay and benefits. I know this isn’t the most politically popular issue, but it is an important one. Americans ought to have our nation’s diversity of economic backgrounds better reflected in this House. The cost of rent, child care, and other necessities has risen substantially in Washington and across the country in recent years, but Member and staff pay and benefits have not kept pace with the private sector. Many talented, bright, and patriotic citizens are choosing not to step up and serve because they believe doing so would place them under financial burden. Others are choosing to leave mid-career, and the result is that we lose their expertise and institutional knowledge. If we want to attract a more diverse group of Americans to run for office and work on Capitol Hill, we need to make it financially possible for them to do so.
Oh you poor Dems in Congress!
Child care costs are too high?
Rent is too high?
You poor babies, let me cry some tears for you!
However will you get by?
Here, let the lower-middle class send you some extra money, how much do you need good masters?
How much can we send you to alleviate such a difficult existance for you?
GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!
At least common sense prevailed on Twitter:
Even NPR confirmed the bizarre story:
Members of Congress have not received a pay raise in a decade. So like most Americans, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., would like a raise.
"The cost of rent, childcare, and other necessities has risen substantially in Washington and across the country in recent years, but members and staff pay and benefits have not kept pace with the private sector," Hoyer said last week at a hearing held by the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
Most House members make $174,000 per year, but they often have to maintain two residences and related expenses. Congress has not approved a raise since the economic recession hit in 2009. Hoyer said if Congress wants to attract Americans from all socio-economic backgrounds to run for office, it needs to pay better. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said that applies not just to lawmakers, but also to the thousands of staffers that work on Capitol Hill.
"Simply put, we don't have enough staff to do our jobs. The staff we have are underpaid, and they don't stay very long," she told the committee.
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Better pay and more employees are just two of hundreds of ideas offered up at a recent lawmaker spit-balling session on how to make Congress function better. It's a question a new bipartisan task-force has just one year to answer before making formal recommendations for change.
The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress is equally divided between six Republicans and six Democrats, and it is expected to file a report by the end of the year with formal recommendations for how best to reform the House's internal operations. Last week, the panel held a hearing in which all lawmakers were invited to come and offer up their best ideas for change.
Lawmakers' proposals largely fell into two categories: the kind that would change the culture of Congress, and the kind that would change how laws are made.
One common theme was that lawmakers need structured ways to become friends — it's a popular idea among freshmen like Minnesota Democrat Dean Phillips. "We should begin orientation by getting to know one another," he said, "By participating in team building exercises and by allowing each new member to share his or her life story in a full group setting." Phillips also said the U.S. Capitol complex needs a design overhaul akin to the way companies like Apple, Google and Tesla approach office and sales space. "And yet we operate in dark compartmentalized offices that were the hallmark of the 19th Century, designed to segregate not collaborate," he said.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., offered perhaps one of the more dramatic ways to shake up modern Capitol Hill culture with his proposal to ban lawmakers from living out of their offices. As many as 50 members are estimated to do it — former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was one of them.
"The actions of these members raise several obvious and potential violations that reflect negatively upon the decorum and the credibility of the House as a body and as an institution," Thompson said.
And even the left-leaning CNN published an incredulous response to the proposal:
The Democratic Party says it's the party of the working class, but congressional Democrats this week complicated that pitch by calling for a pay raise for members of Congress.
"Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution," said Rep. Alcee Hastings during a Monday Rules Committee hearing on the upcoming year's legislative branch appropriations bill, according to Roll Call.
The number two House Democrat told reporters he agreed with Hastings.
Rep Steny Hoyer said it was appropriate during the recession years in 2009 and 2010 to not approve any pay increases, but to continue that policy "simply will dictate that the only people who can serve are the rich and I don't think that's what the founding fathers had in mind."
Members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually, and haven't enjoyed a pay raise since 2009. Staffers are paid considerably less, with the average staff assistant on the Hill earning roughly $35,000 per year.
That creates a barrier to entry into Congress for low-income Americans, and contributes to a brain drain that's made it difficult for congressional offices to recruit and retain top talent, Hastings argued.
"This institution is heading towards elitism," Hastings said on Monday. "And that's crazy."
If it's ok with you all, I'll just stick with people like Donald Trump to run our country, thank you very much!
People who have the real business sense to MAKE MONEY and then apply those skills to work on behalf of our country!
How about we stop hiring losers as our leaders and we put BUSINESS PEOPLE in charge?
Sounds like a good idea to me!
You either make money or "You're Fired!"
You ever seen The Apprentice?
You figure out how to make it work or you're outta here!
Hell no, you don't get to vote yourself a pay raise!
This is the craziest damn thing I've seen all year!
Support THIS MAN in 2020:
Please limit one per person.