Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that would increase their salaries to $168,500.The current federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour—last raised in 1998. That means someone working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, makes $10,712 a year, or 6.3% of what a member of Congress does.
The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be the seventh straight for members of the House and Senate. Lawmakers easily squelched an attempt by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to get a direct vote to block the increase, which is automatically awarded unless lawmakers vote to block it.
Of course, most members of Congress don’t work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. During the Bush administration, the number of days worked by Congress in a session (two years) has fallen to below 250—and the three days a week they’re meant to spend in session aren’t really three days at all. “They return from their districts on Tuesday nights, and sometimes early Wednesday, and head home again Thursday afternoon.” We’re mostly paying them to spend their time fundraising for reelection.
If you had record low approval ratings and decided you were only going to work about a day and a half a week, do you think your boss would give you a raise?
(Hat tip, Eponymous.)