South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy Friday called it "laughable" to say that lawmakers are underpaid, blasting veteran Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran for complaints about a six-figure salary for a job that's "priceless."
"I know a lot of people in the world that are underpaid — in fact I live with one, who's a schoolteacher," Gowdy told FOX News host Greta Van Susteren in an interview posted by Mediaite
"But members of Congress are incredibly blessed ... to have the jobs that we have. Nobody makes us run. Every two years we offer for public office, and if you don’t want to do it then don’t run."
Twenty-four-year veteran Moran, who is retiring at the end of the year, groused Thursday lawmakers are "underpaid"
and that many cannot "afford to live decently."
Gowdy called that hogwash. "The notion that you can make $174,000 in this country and be underpaid is laughable,” he added. “We are better off than 99.9 percent of the people we claim to work for. And I would be embarrassed to say that — given our job performance and our salary — that we are anything other than grossly overcompensated."
He told Van Susteren “plenty of Democrats” agree with him, adding: "I don’t know any colleagues on either side of the aisle… who would tell anyone that they deserve a pay raise."
Moran, Gowdy said, is "a majority of one, if he believes that."
"Public service means you give something up," he added. "You get compensation in other way. You get the benefit of working in the Capitol, of being part of history, of being able to vote for your fellow citizens — all of which is priceless."
But Moran dug in Friday, ABC News reported.
"There are too many members of Congress who are having to sleep in their offices, making too much sacrifice," he told radio station WTOP, ABC News reported.
Republican Texas Rep. Joe Barton, who told ABC News he lives paycheck to paycheck, said there should be an annual cost of living increase “when the inflation rate triggers it.”
"I don’t think we should continue to have increases when the rest of the country is in recession or we haven’t had a depression in a long time, but on the other hand, over time you do need to get these inflationary adjustments," he said.
"Some members are well-to-do before they get here but the whole point of the People's House is to let the average person have a chance to be a representative. We don’t deserve to make CEO-style salaries but, on the other hand, each of us represents 700,000 people. It's a big responsibility."
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