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Apr 06 2014

Rep. Moran: Congress “Underpaid,” Demands Housing Assistance

rep underpaid

Representative James P. Moran (D-VA) is on the road to retirement but has decided to highlight a “great injustice” before he goes – according to Moran, Congress simply isn’t paid enough. He argues that the lowly annual salary of $174,000 is not enough to “live decently” in D.C. In an effort to remedy this alleged terrible situation, he plans to propose a congressional pay raise.

The House recently voted on a spending bill that would also continue the freeze of congressional salaries instituted in 2010. Moran isn’t happy.

As it is, Moran states, many Congressmen live out of their offices to save money, or get “small little apartments” that impede family time. Some might view that as a personal choice, but Moran is proposing a government per diem housing allowance. He plans to tack on this allowance in the form of an amendment to the House’s spending bill. A Moran staffer said that the proposal isn’t so much a raise, but is more about “housing assistance.”

Several other congressmen have complained about their pay rate over the years, even going so far as to claim that they have trouble “paying bills” – though a closer look reveals this is usually the result of bad financial decisions, lawsuits over tax evasion, and owning one or two too many homes. Despite forgoing a $2,800 cost-of-living raise, members of Congress still make roughly three times the median U.S. household income. In 2004, Moran claimed to be one of the “poorest” congressmen – again, largely due to to some bad decisions and a messy divorce. On his 2012 tax return, he listed a net-worth of $1,001 – $15,000. He currently holds a second job teaching at George Mason University.

Moran recognizes that his proposal will most likely not pass a vote, as Congress faces record-breaking low approval ratings and is largely seen as ineffective. The 2014 Congressional Calender also boats only 113 days in session – which is good or bad, depending on your viewpoint – which is nearly two weeks less than 2013.

Last month, Moran also proposed a 3.3% pay raise to federal workers, bringing the average salary of a federal worker to just over $81,000. Despite many of these employees being furloughed during the shut down – which Moran acknowledges as a hardship many federal workers faced – he argues that the raise is necessary so that workers may be rewarded for their “vital role” in Americans’ lives.

In his proposal, Moran largely blames the Tea Party for low congressional and federal wages.

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