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Democrats Hold Off on Giving Themselves Pay Raises to Avoid Looking 'Tone Deaf' to Base

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The pay raise House lawmakers were hoping for is being put on hold by Democratic leaders after receiving backlash from their party's "most vulnerable members."

As Politico reports,

Top Democrats agreed in a closed-door meeting Monday night to pull a key section of this week’s massive funding bill to avoid escalating a clash within their caucus over whether to hike salaries for lawmakers and staff for the first time in a decade, multiple lawmakers confirmed.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told the outlet that Democrats would possibly back off the bill so they can “resolve the issue of congressional pay raises.” Most reportedly did not want to create a target on their back in 2020 by appearing “tone deaf” to their base.

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other top Republicans already backed the measure with an agreement not to attack the other party over it.

Both parties believe stagnant pay would deter average people from running for government gigs, because they wanted to ensure the person would be able to live in a district that may have “high costs of living.”

Even self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ironically supports the measure: 

"It may be politically convenient, and it may make you look good in the short term for saying, 'Oh we're not voting for pay increases,' but we should be fighting for pay increases for every American worker," Ocasio-Cortez argued. "We should be fighting for a $15 minimum wage pegged to inflation so that everybody in the United States with a salary with a wage gets a cost of living increase. Members of Congress, retail workers, everybody should get cost of living increases to accommodate for the changes in our economy. And then when we don't do that, it only increases the pressure on members to exploit loopholes like insider-trading loopholes, to make it on the back end."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income was $61,372 in 2017. The average congressional salary is $174,000 per year. The Speaker of the House of Representatives receives a salary of $223,500, while all other leadership positions pay $193,400. 

 

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