Tags: alcee hastings | congress | pay | salary freeze | lawmakers

Rep. Alcee Hastings: $174K Salary Not 'Proper Pay' for Congress

Image: Rep. Alcee Hastings: $174K Salary Not 'Proper Pay' for Congress
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, R-Fla. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 May 2015 12:46 PM

Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee L. Hastings says that lawmakers' salaries should go up because Washington, D.C., is such an expensive place to live and not all members of Congress are wealthy.

"Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid, and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution," Hastings said at a Rules Committee meeting Monday, Roll Call reported.

The Florida Democrat was making the comments about the average lawmaker's annual salary of $174,000.

"We aren’t being paid properly," he said.

The topic of pay for members of Congress came up as part of a debate about the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch appropriations bill, which governs pay for congressional lawmakers and legislative branch agencies.

Story continues below video.

A freeze on salaries for legislators is included in the current version of the bill, which is a continuation of a freeze that was implemented in 2010.

Hastings has not offered an amendment to increase the pay of congressional members because he knows that it wouldn't pass, but he did say that "the least we could have done for ourselves is to give us a tax credit."

The Florida Democrat cited housing prices in Washington as one of the reasons why members need a raise. He said he had been paying $2,100 per month for an apartment in the nation's capital until he was forced out because the price kept going up.

Hastings, who is the second poorest lawmaker in the current Congress, contends that increasing congressional salaries would help keep the ranks diverse so that it doesn't become an "elite institution."

"This institution is heading toward elitism," Hastings said. "And that's crazy."

He also said that some lawmakers "are going to be unable to send their children to college" on their current salaries.

"I think it will ultimately lead to a serious morale problem."

Hastings also thought that congressional aides and staffers needed an increase in pay.

Former Democratic Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia failed in his attempt to increase the pay for lawmakers last year, when he was asking for $25 per day for members of Congress to help offset living expenses.

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Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee L. Hastings says that lawmakers' salaries should go up because Washington, D.C., is such an expensive place to live and not all members of Congress are wealthy.
alcee hastings, congress, pay, salary freeze, lawmakers
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2015-46-19
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 12:46 PM
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