Members of Congress automatically get pay raises, but Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s offering an amendment that would force all federal lawmakers to go on record if they’re going to give themselves a financial boost.
Grassley says, "We want to go back to a situation where the only way Congress is going to get a pay raise is if it has guts enough to stand up and actually vote for the raise." Most members of Congress make around $170,000 a year, while leaders like House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi top $217,000.
Grassley, a Republican, says members of Congress need to justify to their constituents why they need more money. "The principle is the same whether it’s good times but particularly, it seems to me, it’s a good issue to have up now when we’re in recession and the government’s running a deficit," Grassley says. To raise the pay without a vote is "totally out of touch" he says, especially when the American people, who pay the salaries, are struggling to make ends meet.
"We have a dismal economy and Congress just voted to double the deficit," Grassley says. "The least Congress could do is not boost its own salary at this particular time." He expects the amendment will be defeated today as Democrats who control both chambers aren’t letting anything be attached to the $410-billion spending bill.