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Now About That Congressional Pay Raise . . .

In January, Congress got a pay raise of $4,700, bringing their salaries to $174,000. Not bad at all, when you consider that people around the country are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts just to keep them.

In a recent comment on our post about bills to deny Congress pay increases, for example, a program manager for a defense contractor wrote about taking a 3% reduction in salary to keep people in his company from losing their jobs.

Well, it turns out that Congress canceled its raise for the coming fiscal year in the big omnibus spending bill it passed last week. (The very last sentence of the bill says: “Notwithstanding any provision of section 601(a)(2) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (2 U.S.C. 31(2)), the percentage adjustment scheduled to take effect under any such provision in calendar year 2010 shall not take effect.”)

But should Congress have canceled its automatic pay increases entirely? There was a little battle over that in the Senate last week, and the majority of Senators voted not to cancel their automatic pay raises. If an amendment to strike automatic pay raises had been passed, the bill would have had to go back to the House for another vote. Time has the whole story.

So, do you accept the argument that the press of business was too much to take time with a cancellation of automatic pay raises? Or was the “press of business” a problem that Congress created itself when it failed to pass the annual spending bills on schedule? (It’s already behind schedule for the coming fiscal year.)

Here is a list of Senators’ votes on whether or not to cancel the automatic pay increase. (The official vote record is here.) Scroll down to find your state and Senators. A “Yea” vote was a vote for continuing automatic pay increases. A “Nay” vote was for canceling automatic pay increases. Here’s how to contact them and let them know what you think.

Nay – Sessions, Jefferson (R)
Nay – Shelby, Richard (R)

Yea – Begich, Mark (D)
Nay – Murkowski, Lisa (R)

Nay – Kyl, Jon (R)
Nay – McCain, John (R)

Yea – Pryor, Mark (D)
Nay – Lincoln, Blanche (D)

Yea – Boxer, Barbara (D)
Yea – Feinstein, Dianne (D)

Yea – Bennet, Michael (D)
Yea – Udall, Mark (D)

Yea – Lieberman, Joseph (I)
Nay – Dodd, Christopher (D)

Yea – Carper, Thomas (D)
Yea – Kaufman, Edward (D)

Yea – Martinez, Mel (R)
Yea – Nelson, Bill (D)

Nay – Chambliss, Saxby (R)
Nay – Isakson, John (R)

Yea – Akaka, Daniel (D)
Yea – Inouye, Daniel (D)

Nay – Crapo, Michael (R)
Nay – Risch, James (R)

Yea – Burris, Roland (D)
Yea – Durbin, Richard (D)

Yea – Lugar, Richard (R)
Nay – Bayh, Evan (D)

Yea – Harkin, Thomas (D)
Nay – Grassley, Charles (R)

Nay – Brownback, Samuel (R)
Nay – Roberts, Pat (R)

Nay – Bunning, Jim (R)
Nay – McConnell, Mitch (R)

Yea – Landrieu, Mary (D)
Nay – Vitter, David (R)

Nay – Collins, Susan (R)
Nay – Snowe, Olympia (R)

Yea – Cardin, Benjamin (D)
Yea – Mikulski, Barbara (D)

Yea – Kerry, John (D)
Not Voting – Kennedy, Edward (D)

Yea – Levin, Carl (D)
Yea – Stabenow, Debbie Ann (D)

Nay – Klobuchar, Amy (D)

Yea – Cochran, Thad (R)
Yea – Wicker, Roger (R)

Nay – Bond, Christopher (R)
Nay – McCaskill, Claire (D)

Yea – Baucus, Max (D)
Nay – Tester, Jon (D)

Nay – Nelson, Ben (D)
Not Voting – Johanns, Mike (R)

Yea – Reid, Harry (D)
Nay – Ensign, John (R)

New Hampshire
Yea – Gregg, Judd (R)
Yea – Shaheen, Jeanne (D)

New Jersey
Yea – Lautenberg, Frank (D)
Yea – Menendez, Robert (D)

New Mexico
Yea – Bingaman, Jeff (D)
Yea – Udall, Tom (D)

New York
Yea – Gillibrand, Kirsten (D)
Yea – Schumer, Charles (D)

North Carolina
Yea – Hagan, Kay (D)
Nay – Burr, Richard (R)

North Dakota
Yea – Conrad, Kent (D)
Yea – Dorgan, Byron (D)

Yea – Brown, Sherrod (D)
Nay – Voinovich, George (R)

Nay – Coburn, Thomas (R)
Nay – Inhofe, James (R)

Yea – Merkley, Jeff (D)
Nay – Wyden, Ron (D)

Yea – Casey, Robert (D)
Nay – Specter, Arlen (R)

Rhode Island
Yea – Reed, John (D)
Yea – Whitehouse, Sheldon (D)

South Carolina
Nay – DeMint, Jim (R)
Nay – Graham, Lindsey (R)

South Dakota
Yea – Johnson, Tim (D)
Nay – Thune, John (R)

Nay – Alexander, Lamar (R)
Nay – Corker, Bob (R)

Nay – Cornyn, John (R)
Nay – Hutchison, Kay (R)

Nay – Bennett, Robert (R)
Nay – Hatch, Orrin (R)

Yea – Leahy, Patrick (D)
Yea – Sanders, Bernard (I)

Yea – Warner, Mark (D)
Nay – Webb, Jim (D)

Yea – Cantwell, Maria (D)
Yea – Murray, Patty (D)

West Virginia
Yea – Byrd, Robert (D)
Yea – Rockefeller, John (D)

Yea – Kohl, Herbert (D)
Nay – Feingold, Russell (D)

Nay – Barrasso, John (R)
Nay – Enzi, Michael (R)

Visitor Comments for Now About That Congressional Pay Raise . . . RSS 2.0


Feds will keep their jobs and cash. You’ll go broke. Obama really wants to help…..

WashingtonWatch.com Digest - March 16, 2009 - The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[…] Now About That Congressional Pay Raise . . . […]


First, a pay raise means you’ve done something to merit one. None of these limpwristed cowards have. Nancy pelosi, will go down in history as the weakest, most pathetic speaker of the house in US history. She also thought she deserved a 757 as HER private jet. There must be a way to FORCE BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS TO VOTE IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN TERMS OF PAY RAISES. None of the rest of us mopes get them. They are our servants, so they don’t either. I never cease to marvel at how different this government is from what history portrays it, or how it portrays itself now. Thieves, liars, murderers, the very worst of any society. Damn them I say, Damn them straight to hell.

Daniel Tibbetts

I don’t decide when I get a pay raise, my boss does. We the American taxpayers are your bosses. We should decide when you politicians get a raise since we are you employer. I will vote against you and your greedy corrupt ways, for voting for a pay raise for yourself and your fellow corrupt peers. I am a Democrat and voted straight a straight Democrat ticket in the 2008 delection but, I can change all of this because of your greed.


Lets talk Retirement – they serve 20yrs and get retirement at age 50. A Army Reserve Soldier serves 20yrs and has to wait until age 60 to get retirement??!! In 1991 they voted to give Soldiers a $.08 a day raise in food allowance….LOL

Hank Williams Jr. - Page 3 - Political Forum

[…] Posted by Think for myself Good lord. When did this happen? In January 09. source __________________ Think me a *bigot"? Def #11 of 12: In an extended sense, a person who is […]

elona reiser

Durbin votes yea for a pay raise,He don’t do jack s**t,the service man are dieing everyday so the congress can go on getting fat,
Seniors ,people out work can starve,
Get them out of office and get some people who no hard times and
then we will get something done,
No rasise for Soc Sec or SSI what a joke the county is.No 1 should get a raise in congress,they make to much for what they do,Take a look at there health care and what they eat everyday,What A GREAT COUNTY for some.

Larry Brown

The Congress is employed by ‘we the people,’ but they have the ability to legislate what their pay shall be and define When, How, and If they receive pay raises. It is irresponsible for any group of workers, especially members of Congress, to enjoy locked-in pay raises given the volatile nature of economics. The best means therefore to restrict the the ‘madness’ of auomatic pay raises for those ‘hard working’ members of Congress is to bar the participation of liberal secularist progressive Marxist/Socialist DIMocrats from that body through the election process. Don’t ever again vote for a ‘pig in a poke’ like we did for Obama. Look what ruin that short sided vote has done for our republic!

kenneth a.taylor

I don’t care how much you like your senator or rep. vote them out. never ever vote for a person in congress after (2) terms never ever,i don’t care if it is your sister or brother

stephen allen

It is time for Congress to live by the same rules it makes for the rest of the country.


The provision for an automatic increase in Congressional compensation is a travesty and should be permanently removed from our laws. Congress should be receiving a cut in pay based on their terrible record.


The provision for an automatic increase in Congressional compensation should be eliminated.
Not just for this year, but forever.


The provision for an automatic pay raisw for Congress should be repealed.


Congress pay should be based on the average income of their constituents. If they want a raise they will have to work to raise the peoples wages. More and better jobs, not unemployment.


Are you sure you got your story correct? The bill was “To repeal the provision of law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress.” But you say voting “Nay” would cancel the automatic pay raises. In fact, it would be just the opposite. Or am I missing something?


FOLLOW-UP: I think you had the basic results right but failed to mention that the vote was to TABLE the bill.

Jim Harper

The vote was on the motion to table *the amendment*, not the bill. The amendment would have canceled automatic pay raises.

So, “Yes, I want to table that amendment” kept automatic pay raises in place.

“No, I don’t want to table that amendment” would have ended automatic pay raises.

Christian Lint

Any and all legislatures voting on bills involving business taxes and pay raises should be mandated to have WORKED in the private sector and run a business in the BLACK for at least three years. FINAL !
Two year term limits should be mandated too. !

charles alsip

I noticed our conserative from tn.
Mr alexander and corker voted to continue automatice pay raises but are against the 350.00 a week unemployment benefit. amazing,simply amazing..


Pay increases are not governed by law. If you do not agree with the pay raise that your congressman voted for, then vote him/her out of office. It is time that all, and I mean all, americans begin to tell congress what we want. We do this by voting out the ones who do not help us and only help themselves. Americans have lost control of the government and we need to get it back. The government should be scared of us and not the other way around. This is only my opinion and I do not vote for the ones who do not help me. I served eight years in the service and firmly believe that if you want to be commander in chief of this country, then you should have had the guts to stand up and fight for it. Don’t send our young men and women into combat if you have not been there and understand it.


I think that the pay congress gets should be voted on by the public every two years ( multiple choice ) and if the health insurance is repealed congress should repeal their own tax payer paid insurance as well.


Automatic pay increases for Congress should, no, *must* be eliminated. Why should these ne’er-do-wells whose salaries we, as taxpayers, have to support continue to receive them. None of the rest of us do. And especially in these lean times, when there are people in this country losing their jobs, homes, livelihoods and such. It gets more and more ridiculous every day. The actions of both houses of Congress get progressively worse as time goes by. Scandals don’t seem to mean anything to these people, elected by those of us who pay their salaries. Do they deserve pay cuts for those inactions and poor actions? Nay, I say. They deserve penalties for every time they pass another “pork barrel” or special interest or earmark. In the next Congressional elections, we the voters need to ***clean House and Senate***, get rid of the chaff and start over from scratch. Let’s get some people in there who will uphold the rights and values on which this country and our Constitution were established… of *the people*, by *the people*, and for *the people*… not just for the privileged few!!!


What exactly does any member of Congress do that justifies such a huge salary? Apparently, all of the individuals in Congress failed arithmetic in high school because none of them knows how to balance a budget. Meanwhile, the majority of US citizens have had to tighten their belts for the last 3 years. Must be nice to have a huge salary, great health care, a physician at one’s place of employment, and a pension plan that most Americans can only dream of. Seems to me that all members of Congress should receive a 50% cut in salary and benefits for poor job performance, and should see a salary decrease for each year that that they cannot balance the budget without raising taxes on anyone earning below the US median income.

Joe A

The only way to straighten out Congress is to make pay, pension and benefit cuts apply to NEW congressmen who replace retiring ones. Obviously the sitting reps won’t vote for any decreases for themselves, but might do so for future reps. Some will argue that high salaries etc are needed to keep congressional reps from being tempted by bribes but that is such a joke, they’re all bought and sold anyway. Or they’ll say that high salaries are needed to draw the best talent. Another huge pile of BS. Lower salaries will draw those who want to serve, not suck on the big golden teat. Forget raises. We need reversals!


I think the people should vote on weather you get a raise in pay.Since it was the people that put you in office. In fact I think that you should take a cut in pay. Right now 2011 the lowest pay in the federal goverment is $174,000 and they want more. Trying living on 50 or 60,000!! Here is some facts Cabinet Dep of Sec {2011} 199,700 {2000} 161,300 per person. Legislative Branch Rank-file sen & rep{2011} 174,000 {2000} 141,300, Speacker of the House {2011} 233,500 {2000} 181,400 it gose on. You are telling America that you can’t live on your pay in year 2000! You are all just greedy people and should be recalled. To take a bit out of the federal def you need to start in your own backyard.

Big Problem in the Little Social Security Payroll Tax Cut

[…] Although congress voted in the big omnibus spending bill of 2009 to not receive a pay raise in 2010, they did not vote to eliminate their automatic cost of living raises each year unless they vote against it.  Here’s the link on how they voted on those automatic raises. […]

No Salary Increase for Congress in FY 2011 – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[…] Last year, many bills were introduced to prevent Congress from receiving a pay increase, and Congress did finally deny itself an automatic pay increase. […]

Judith Johnson

This has to stop. If we have a good economy we vote to give them a raise if not, they go along with the rest of us and have their salary cut. They have to have SS and they must be 20 years on the job to get retirement. Equality is the answer to stop them from making asinine decisions that just affect “we the people”.

Linda Koob

No member of Congress or their staff are worth more pay than an E-6 in the military. Nor should their benefits be better than the average working person -especially when they are paid by our taxes.

The American public deserves a nation wide referendum to express our views on Congressional pay and benefits AND term limits.

Our founding fathers did not intend to create professional members of Congress. These people need to get out of office after two terms and work like the rest of us.

Congress needs to confine their efforts to balancing the federal budget and get out of baseball and football and light bulb and obesity rulings.





http://realitybloger.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/the-senate-how-much-does-it-cost/ When I found this website I realized that the graft and corruption is even worse than I thought! Hair cuts, suits etc. that we pay for

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