Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Members of Congress Due to Award Themselves $4,700 Raise in 2009

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of Congress are slated to receive a $4,700 pay raise beginning in January, increasing their annual salaries to $174,000. The increase for 535 House and Senate members would cost taxpayers more than $2.5 million.

That salary alone, which excludes all other outside income and spousal wages, ranks each lawmaker in the top six percent of American households.

Congress automatically gets a pay raise each year, and has to introduce legislation to prevent the increase. Although legislation to halt the Congressional raise has been introduced, the most supported bill (H.R. 5087) has just 34 co-sponsors, far short of the 218 necessary for passage.

"As lawmakers make a big show of forcing auto executives to accept just $1 a year in salary, they are quietly raiding the vault for their own personal gain," said Daniel O'Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). "This money would be much better spent helping the millions of seniors who are living below the poverty line and struggling to keep their heat on this winter."

According to a Congressional Record Service dated November 26, 2008, lawmakers will receive a 2.8 percent increase in pay next year, from $169,300 to $174,000.

Meanwhile, a senior receiving average benefits will get a $63 monthly increase to just $1,153 per month next year, bringing their annual total to $13,836. An estimated 12 percent of all seniors are living at or below the poverty line, and one-third of all beneficiaries depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.

The Senior Citizens League supports three bills - H.R. 5087, H.R. 5091, and H.R. 6417 - which would prevent the pay raise from automatically going into effect. TSCL encourages its members to contact their Members of Congress and ask them to support those bills.

With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League ( is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. The Senior Citizens League is an affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association.

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