Bills to bump lawmakers’ pay face pushback

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a package that would raise lawmakers’ annual salaries by thousands of dollars.

Lawmakers take home an average of $175,000 annually for their work. If the pay increase passes, they would make about $4,500 more each year.

Though lawmakers’ pay has been frozen for about a decade, some in Congress are against the bump.

“That’s not right,” Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said.

She, a fellow Democrat and three Republicans are trying to block the increase. Axne said lawmakers’ priorities are out of whack.

“When we’re seeing things like education expenses being gutted, when we’re seeing research for health issues being gutted … those things are unacceptable,” she said.

In addition to halting the increase, her plan would ban lawmakers from taking first-class flights and make it illegal for them to lobby once they leave office.

“Anytime you’re looking at something that’s for the greater good of this country, we should all want to get on board,” she said.

Romina Boccia of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, says the pay increase is bad politics in an election year.

“The average American makes $60,000 a year. I don’t think they’re going to get much sympathy from the American people,” Boccia said. “Many Americans are frustrated with the lack of action from Congress.”

Her group is backing a plan that would block pay entirely for lawmakers until they pass a full budget.

But Republican and Democrat leaders in the House support the increase, saying it compensates for inflation and the high cost for lawmakers of living in both their home states and Washington.

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