WASHINGTON — Members of Congress make $174,000 a year, but retiring Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., says that’s not enough.
Moran tells CQ Roll Call that members need bigger paychecks because they have to maintain two residences — one in their home district, and one in Washington.
“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran told 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.”
Moran says some members live out of their offices to save money and others have little apartment units.
He said he thinks with members of Congress making the number of sacrifices they are for their families that fewer will want to run for office and the result will be wealthier people running for Congress.
“More and more we’re going to see people who are already millionaires coming into Congress,” Moran said on WTOP.
“Our pay has been frozen for three years and we’re planning on freezing it a fourth year,” he told Roll Call.
Congressional salaries have not seen a bump since 2009.
Moran says he’ll bring up the issue in an amendment to a bill to garner attention to the issue, but he assumes it will not pass.
Moran wants to see Congress bring back a per diem for lawmakers from outside the Washington metropolitan area. He says Congress had the per diem for its first 100 years.
“I don’t think I’m going to get much support,” Moran told WTOP.
“As long as the Congress continues to freeze its own pay, it’s going to be very difficult to unfreeze federal employees’ pay. It seems to me that the federal workforce deserves a raise,” Moran said on WTOP.
CBS Chief Washington Correspondent and host of “Face The Nation” Bob Schieffer says congressional pay needs a “complete overhaul.”
“I propose that they be paid by the hour, just like most government workers,” he said Friday on WTOP. “But they would only be paid while they’re legislating.”
Schieffer joked that lawmakers should also get a good healthcare plan – though he noted they already have that.
“They could get it by going to the healthcare.gov website,” he said, referring to the website that’s been plagued by problems for Americans trying to sign up for healthcare insurance.
“When Congress does so little, as it’s done in this Congress … you’re not going to get a lot of sympathy,” says David Gregory, moderator of “Meet the Press.”
Moran admits Congress has not been productive.
“We’re not getting anything done. You are absolutely right,” Moran said on WTOP.