Congress gets it together to give themselves raises

Published 1:28 pm Monday, July 2, 2007

By Staff
Do we owe Congress an apology?
We have been guilty of criticizing its inability to solve such issues as immigration because of partisan gridlock.
But House lawmakers got it together long enough June 27 to accept an approximately $4,400 pay raise that will boost their salaries to almost $170,000.
Their own pay is one issue around which legislators can pose as bipartisan.
The cost-of-living allowance (COLA) gets lawmakers back on track for automatic pay raises after a spat between Republicans and Democrats last year and again in January killed the pay hike due this year.
That little snafu was the only interruption in the annual congressional pay hike in seven years.
Democrats felt compelled to fulfill a campaign pledge to deny themselves a pay adjustment until Congress raised the minimum wage.
That show of concern for their fellow Americans cost every member about $3,100 this year.
On a 244-181 vote Wednesday, Republicans and Democrats cooperated to kill a bid by Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Lee Terry, R-Neb., to get a direct vote to block the COLA, which is automatically awarded unless Congress votes against it.
Congress assured themselves of raises in 1989 in the name of ethics reform.
Lawmakers forfeited their ability to accept pay for speechmaking, so COLA pay hikes became automatic unless they voted otherwise. If only bipartisanship flourished on less self-serving issues than their own salaries. We're sorry it doesn't.