Moran: Lawmakers Need Pay Raise in Costly D.C.

Moran: Lawmakers Need Pay Raise in Costly D.C.
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Rank-and-file members of the House and Senate earn a $174,000 annual salary. But according to one veteran lawmaker, it’s not enough for them to live comfortably in Washington, D.C. 

“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Rep. Jim Moran, who is retiring next year, asserted in an interview with Roll Call. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.” 

The Virginia Democrat called for lawmakers to receive a per diem allowance on top of their current salaries, following the practice of many state legislatures. He said that current salary levels force some members -- particularly those who are not independently wealthy -- to live in “small little apartment units” or out of their offices.  

“Our pay has been frozen for three years and we’re planning on freezing it a fourth year,” Moran said in response to a Republican bill that would keep their salaries at levels set in 2010. “A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington.” 

The 12-term congressman plans to offer an amendment to the GOP bill, though he conceded it’s unlikely to pass. He did not specify how much he thinks pay should increase. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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