Rep. Jim Moran wants members of Congress to make more than the $174,000 they earn now.
The veteran Virginia Democrat, who will retire at the end of this year, said many in the House and Senate struggle to support their families at home while maintaining a residence in or near Washington, D.C.
"There are too many members living and sleeping in their offices and it's wrong. They can’t afford to live here and it's wrong," Moran told fellow members of the House Appropriations Committee, according to The Hill
Moran said he realizes the American public would most likely not support a plan to beef up salaries at the Capitol, but he sees it as an important step. His idea is to provide a housing allowance to members of Congress so that they can more easily afford to live in the District and its surrounding areas.
"I understand that it is widely felt that [members] underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world and a lot of members can't even afford to live decently when they are at their job in Washington," Moran said.
Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican in charge of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, said Moran's plan would not go very far.
"You won’t get a lot of votes but you will make a lot of friends," Cole said.
There is currently a wage freeze on lawmakers in Washington.
Cole is working on the Legislative Branch Spending Bill, which would keep lawmakers from getting a raise. But the bill
does contain $3.3 billion in funding for the Capitol Building, House operations, and other agencies such as the U.S. Capitol Police and the Library of Congress.
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