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Robert Longley

Congress Getting a Pay Raise – How About You?

By January 3, 2009

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Some say they work hard for the money, and unless they pass a bill rejecting it, members of the U.S. Congress will get $4,700 cost-of-living (COLA) raise beginning in January 2009. The average member of Congress will realize a 2.8 percent raise, bringing his or her annual salary to $174,000. The raises for congress will cost taxpayers $2.5 million during 2009.

With passage of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, lawmakers authorized themselves the automatic – no debate, no vote – annual cost-of-living raise unless they specifically pass legislation rejecting or reducing it. Congress has voted to reject the automatic raise six times since then, most recently in 2007. In 2008, lawmakers accepted a $4,100 raise. So far, no legislation rejecting the 2009 COLA increase has been introduced.

Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution requires Congress to set its own pay. From 1789 through 1968, Congress set its pay by passing stand-alone legislation, voting itself raises 22 times. By 1968, the first congressional salary of $1,500 (1815-1817) had increased to $30,000. While Congress can still pass stand-alone legislation to increase its own pay, and did so in 1982, 1983, 1989, and 1991, members have since depended on the automatic cost-of-living adjustment for their raises.

"The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States." -- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 6

From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 to $7.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving a regular annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.

During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin proposed that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Franklin’s proposal won little support. As you might guess, this year’s automatic raise for Congress coming as millions of American workers are giving up their cost-of-living raises in an effort to save their jobs -- if they still have them – has similarly won little support.

Also See:
Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members
Congress Votes Itself a Pay Raise (2004)
Salaries of the US Congress, 1789-2008 (.pdf)

Comments

January 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm
(1) Salary List says:

I didn’t see much salary increase per Salary List I don’t think it is easy for employees to negotiate up salary during this economy condition

January 6, 2009 at 10:38 am
(2) paul says:

After $700 billion bailout, i am numb to 2.5 million

January 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm
(3) Mary Thomas says:

It is obscene at this time that they can justify accepting this pay increase. Is there anything that we ordinary citizens can do or is it a fait accompli?

June 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm
(4) kalvinn says:

hi mary they would sooner see the country default on loans then take wage cut, congressmen dont like to work that is why your country is 14 trillion in debt why is your country supporting them on borrowed money?

September 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm
(5) George Schwab says:

If this country is in such dire decline then Congress should not accept any increase in salary. The average citizen is not getting COLA, prices have increased dramatically, increase in our social security payment. WE will do our part to vote some more responsible men and women to congress and hope all will have a limited term. LIES are what we are getting from Obama or should I say NOBAMA. We live on what we have paid into for 40 years and resent the condition of our wonderful country. Practical plugs in spending would help They don’t look for simplicity and use common sense approaches. My husband has fought in 2 wars and this is our money to which we have paid into all these years We do not deserve IOU’s.George & Margaret Schwab

October 10, 2011 at 10:15 am
(6) d phillips says:

give congress the same pay as middle class, then see the changes they make for themselves. also none of them know what the price of grocries are. why are they letting people in this country. starve?while sending our money all over the world.take care of our people first.

January 28, 2009 at 10:05 am
(7) Linda says:

The fact that they are spending precious time attempting to take away freedom of speech from our airwaves (Rush Limbaugh), gives credence to the joke that they are a bunch of clowns.
They can’t priorize. It’s the economy, Stupid.

November 10, 2011 at 9:28 am
(8) VICKI says:

To Linda, their are freedoms they are trying to take away, but freedom of speech when it has to do with Rush Limbaugh is not one of them. The racist Republicans love him. They dont want to shut him up, because, he is the biggest racist and bigot of all. They all should be put in jail. We cant even get anything that makes sense done in Washington, because we have a rogue, racist Republican congress whose only reason for living right now is to make President Obama a one-term President. That is not going to happen as long as they are totally off the chart to the right!! For the idiots who voted them into office in the first place, how you like them now!! Dummies!!

January 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm
(9) Paul & Norma Bell says:

Congressman Johnson: My name is Norma Bell and I am 73 years old. Have had to go back to work part time to make ends meet. My part time job may be over in a few days.

My husband, Paul Bell, is 59 years old. He has not had an increase in salary in about 10 years.

How can you, if you are an honorable man, continue to increase your own salary annually, while we struggle just to make ends meet?

January 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm
(10) Jeanette Abel says:

Greed clearly has it hooks in the American pocket book. We work hard so CEO’s can steal and lie (and it appears they can do this without penalty) and take our retirement savings and food out of children’s mouths, and then they destroy the jobs they they “borrowed” money to keep! I have no faith nor confidence in this administration to fix the problem. They are rapidly becoming the problem by giving massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to companies with absolutely no oversight! I have to budget, why does our government believe they don’t have to? They have no accountability to the poeple who put them in office? When is it going to stop!?

February 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm
(11) Joe the Unemployed says:

Just got laid-off today. Can we lay off members of Congress?

February 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm
(12) JBS612 says:

Why are our public servants making more money than the public they serve? Would you pay your housekeeper more than you earn? Government officals should receive a salary equal to that of the average american household.

March 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(13) Sue says:

I can’t believe that while there are those without jobs or PAYCUTS or homes to live in and struggling that Congress is so insane. Greed is what got us here…and I guess it is still going on while the rest of Americans pay the price!

June 3, 2009 at 1:01 pm
(14) Diana says:

Why do they deserve a $4,700 cost of living raise when the people who really worked hard all their lives and are now on social security aren’t going to get any cost of living increase at all? People on social security are below poverty level. I live alone with only social security income and I am barely surviving on less then $13,000 a year.

August 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(15) B says:

It’s time to show how we feel about our Congressman and VOTE THEM ALL OUT until they start doing what we TELL THEM TO DO! And if the new one doesn’t listen, VOTE THEM OUT TOO! After awhile, they will realize they aren’t going to stay in there long enough to get those benefits when they retire after years of “public service”–which is a joke.

September 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm
(16) Patricia Wilcher says:

If I understand correctly, Congress has voted for araise for 2010 but not 2011. I am on SS disability and I don’t get a raise in 2010 but my medical bills and premiums are going up faster than the cost of living that we do not get next year. How can this be corrected for the sick and elderly.

September 21, 2009 at 10:30 am
(17) sonny says:

I see Obama wants to give amnesty to illegal aliens. In just 14 states we spend over $40 billion dollars on them. Health care, education, free school lunches, bi-lingual teachers, wic programs, incarceration, time in local jails, trail cost, taking jobs from Americans, government documents printed in english and spanish, $11 billion dollars a year in health care fraud. Is Congress working on this, no they give themselves a cost of living raise and don’t give social securtity, which we paid into most of our lives nothing. Do you really think we should vote these people back into offic? I don’t. Obama has to have money for the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens he’s adding to government entitlements, welfare and etc.

September 21, 2009 at 1:18 pm
(18) Sonny says:

Social security is not getting a cost of living raise but Congress did, why dont that suprise me? We have 12 to 20 million illegal aliens that Obama is trying to get amnesty for, he’s looking out for them not American citizens. Just taking 14 states illegal aliens cost the taxpayer over $40 billion dollars per year. Healthcare, education, free lunches, wic, incarceration, time in local jails, trial cost and loss of American jobs to them,not to mention $11 billion dollars per year in health care fraud. Is Congress fixing these problems? no their too busy giving themselves raises they don’t deserve. I say vote them out, get rid of the Pelosis, Reids and Obamas. They are socialist.

October 11, 2009 at 11:19 am
(19) loretta says:

I am retired. Congress should not get a raise if we seniors are not getting raises. I will begin circulating a petition locally (to senior groups, Church, senior developments)and send it to our local rep (Pascrell) stating just that: No raise for us and no raise for you! Does anybody know how we can set up an online petition?

October 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm
(20) Homer Humphries says:

Someone asked what can be done abut the raises? The only thing those folks understand is when one of their group gets shot down at the polls in an election. They work hard to get re-elected and start their fund raising right after each election. We need to defeat a large group of them at the ballot box in 2010.

October 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm
(21) Gary W. says:

According to our ‘we are for the little guy’ politicians and all the way up to the president, inflation was zero this year and that how much increase those of us on social security will get. Prices have gone up in the used clothing store where I get my duds. The POS insurance I have will go up from $5 to $10 for my primary doctor, hospital stay from $450 to over $1000. Zero inflation?

October 17, 2009 at 11:49 am
(22) Don says:

The only thing that I have seen that has dropped in prices has been gasoline. And it’s now on the way back up.

October 21, 2009 at 10:46 am
(23) Maiah says:

Most everyone makes valid points. What about the people? What are they thinking? Are they not aware of our debt? What end comes of this? But to flip the lid, we’ve got to realize something: Congressmen are people too. Gasp, I know! Half of you wouldn’t be saying two words if this was your salary. What if instead of complaining about it and feeling robbed, we tried being happy for them? Believe me, I’m on our end of this stick. But is it so painful for us all to see someone besides ourselves prosper? Let’s have character. Instead of reacting the way they expect us to, let’s go beyond the norm. America has become so ‘Me me me’. Come on people, let’s smile and be happy and realize that there’s more to life than money. Let everything corrupt around you fall away to the little green bills.

May 15, 2011 at 5:24 am
(24) charles ratcliff says:

you idiot me me me worked hard for my ss iam barley getting by a little rasie helps you must want us to hump up and say nothing not me you loudmouth green as you say bbuys my ever day needs not wants open your eyes you must be a congressman

October 29, 2009 at 7:51 pm
(25) Bethany says:

Congress got an automatic cost-of-living adjustment in 2009, and Social Security recipients also got an automatic cost-of-living adjustment (5.8%) in 2009. In 2010, neither will be getting a raise. Congress voted to reject the automatic pay increase for itself for 2010. Social Security won’t go up in 2010 because the cost-of-living index that Social Security raises are based upon went down. It’s dishonest to compare the 2009 Congressional pay increase to the 2010 Social Security non-increase.

November 1, 2009 at 10:12 am
(26) Jim Childers says:

The democrats took over in late January 2009 and in March 2009 the democratic controlled Senate through a voice vote voted a bill to freeze salary increases for 2010 and stop the annual automatic cost of living increase. Is that easy enough to understand??????????????

November 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm
(27) George says:

We seriously need to get rid of all of the congress and everybody that has to do with the government. But…people have short memories. They go out and vote for the same people all of the time regardless if those people know anything at all. I wonder how people who voted for Obama are liking The change. Since he was elected…I only talked to two people who voted for him.

November 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm
(28) Arthur J Denison says:

Why should congress get a pay raise if SOC@Retired vets do not You can change this at the voting booth if you have the guts to do it

November 29, 2009 at 1:22 pm
(29) FreddieVee says:

The more we look to place hardships on Congressmen, the more likely we guarantee that only rich people can serve in Congress. Example: a man works at Home Depot in Florida as a sales associate. He sends e-mail around to all his friends and gets a huge following as his e-mail is forwarded multiple times. He decides to run for the Florida House in Tallahassee. He is elected on a grass-roots write-in campaign. The Florida House in Tallahassee only meets for one 60 day regular session per year, but can be called into special session at any time. He tells Home Depot in February that he will be taking off for 2 months starting in early March and is told have a good time in Tallahassee, “but don’t expect to have a job when you come back”. The $31,000 per year salary as a legislator sounds like a lot to a minimum wage worker, but how do you survive full time on that income? And our hero can’t get another full time (maybe not even a part-time job) because he is subject to special session calls to Tallahassee. The only people who can deal with this short session schedule (with it’s low pay) are the rich and lawyers, people who can tailor their time around the sporadic Tallahassee sessions.

US Congressman seem to have it a little easier, but they have to have two homes; one in (or around) DC and one in the district in the state they represent. They don’t get rich on their government income. You expect your US Congressman to have the wisdom of High Level Corporate Executives but you also expect them to accept yearly salaries of what some Corporate Executives make in a month. But remember that they don’t start off as US Congressmen, they usually start in the State Legislature, and that is a rich man’s game, yet you expect rich men and lawyers to do what’s right for the middle class.

The rich do very little to help us, the people that work for a living and that is because they don’t have empathy for us, because they are not like us. Want middle-class people to get into politics? Then allow politics to pay well enough so that a middle-class worker can afford to move up the political ladder.

December 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm
(30) Gordon Northrop says:

Just be patient, our day is coming. Don’t forget the past.

They are starting to come out with items that make themselves look good.

Freedom is for people who want it.

December 9, 2009 at 9:47 am
(31) Pat W says:

Congress is getting a pay raise. What about retired military veterans? There has been so much press about taking care of vets….What’s up with this?!?

December 13, 2009 at 1:02 am
(32) Jim in California says:

They are not illegal aliens, they are un-documented democrats.

December 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm
(33) u.s seal... says:

WOW I SEE SO MANY VERTANS AND PEOPLE LOSING
JOBS ,, AND OLD PEOPLE LIVING ON COFEE AND COOKIES
WHAT A SAD , SAD,AND SADER , SAME SHIT AS BEFORE
REPUBLICRATS ,, AND DERORATS, 3 RD PARTY SEEMS
A GREAT OPTION….. GOD BLESS…

December 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm
(34) Dan Thompson says:

I am 63 years old, barely surviving, hardly ever do any thing just to pay my bills and pay my rent, already lost my home and now must rent a crappy apartment, WOW! the “golden years are so great. I am sure groceries, etc. won’t go up for me because merchants will feel sorry for me because I don’t get my “drop in the bucket” raise for 2010. I lost any pension I would of had because of Reaganomics years ago. This is almost unbelievable, except its true! It is truely sad.

December 24, 2009 at 11:49 am
(35) Randy says:

I can’t believe that Congress is giving themselves a cost of living increase, while poor people, such as Social Security receipents gor nothung!!!
Apparently the Congress and Senate haven’t had to buy any groceries or pay any utility bills lately!!!

January 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm
(36) J. Rajca says:

Why are you, politicians that live off our hard earned money, think of yourselves and not what is best for us who have worked and paid taxes; come out at worse end of your stick?

January 6, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(37) gorson says:

12 million US Citizens out of work….12 million illegal aiens….do the math.

January 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm
(38) Girth says:

Voting them out of power does nothing. Once they are there, they will receive their pensions, free healthcare and other perks forever after. I’d sure like to get fired today and keep receiving my same salary until I die … I would do whatever I can to get fired.

January 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm
(39) LonePuma says:

Subject: Retribution is less than 1 year away
From: http://factcheck.org/2010/01/retribution-fabrication/

Take a look at this and just remember elections in Nov. 2010.

U.S. House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises.

1. They voted to not give you a S.S. Cost of living raise in 2010 and 2011.

2. Your Medicaid premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2-years and you will not get the 3% COLA: $660/yr. Your total 2-yr loss and cost is -$1,600 or -$3,200 for husband and wife.
3. Over 2 yrs they each get $10,000
4. Do you feel SCREWED?
5. Will they have your cost of drugs – doctor fees – local taxes – food, etc., increase?
NO WAY. They have a raise and better benefits. Why care about you? You never did anything about it in the past. You obviously are too stupid or don’t care.
6. Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barnie, et al, care about you? SEND THEM THE MESSAGE- You’re FIRED.
IN 2010 YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO GET RID OF THE SITTING CONGRESS: Up to 1/3 OF THE SENATE, AND 100% OF THE HOUSE.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE STILL MAD IN NOVEMBER 2010 AND REMEMBER THEIR REPLACEMENTS NOT TO SCREW UP.
It is ok to forward this to your sphere of influence if you are finally tired of the abuse.

Maybe it’s time for the Amendment 28

“Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

Let’s get this passed around, folks – these people in Washington have brought this upon themselves!!! It’s time for retribution. Let’s take back America.

January 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm
(40) N. Huntington says:

I just cant believe this ….the state this country is in there are US citizens that are going hungry and dont have a place to live because either there on lousy unemployment and its running out and they cant find a job and these people are getting a pay raise for what? ya know thay should be ashamed to even be a congress man or women there ALL CROOKS EVERYLAST ONE OF THEM….they should go without food or a place to live see how real life.

January 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(41) CJean says:

Are they kidding?? This is just like asking my employees to take a pay cut and showing up in a new Cadillac the next morning!

January 11, 2010 at 6:01 pm
(42) Lou says:

Bogus non-factual info perpetrated by the “haters”. Some people will believe anything.

http://factcheck.org/2010/01/retribution-fabrication/

January 15, 2010 at 10:08 am
(43) Jim R.S. says:

Here’s where to start a petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/

January 17, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(44) Plainsman says:

If Congress is right when they say they work hard for their money. In the last two years they have given us folks 12 trillion dollars of national debt to pay. Plus, we’ve losing our homes, jobs, money and hope. What little faith we may have had in the Government is gone. Of the money they spend today 49 cents of each dollar is borrowed. Causing the U.S. dollar to drop in value. They have spent trillions in giveaway and bailout programs and the economy get worse. Now they want to add the burden of trillions on a health care plan worse than what we already have. Now we’ll need to borrow even more money.
PLease Congress, close the doors on the Capital building and take a years vacation, so supply and demand will have a chance to correct our economy. It a cinch you’ve done nothing to correct it.

January 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm
(45) Herb says:

Someone asked ,isn’t there something an ordinary citizen can do about Congress giving themselves a raise and discontinueing the cola for seniors and veterans.I think all seniors and veterans should send a note to their Senators and Congressman that they will be looking for a job come election time if they they don’t restore the cola. and that goes for the President too.

January 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm
(46) al lengyel says:

it must be nice to give yourself a 4700 doller pay raise.when we who are on ss cant get nothing for cost of living.thanks alot you who work for us.remember when next election comes around.because we wont forget T N X.

January 27, 2010 at 9:37 am
(47) Concerned Citizen says:

When is this garbage going to stop? These people, who have run this country into the ground, need to be taken out and flogged. Maybe even go back to the old days of tar and feather. How can they continue to get away with this kind of stuff? Their kick backs, shady deals, and overall control of bill regulation makes them millions per year. Mean while there are still hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, living in poverty, and many yet still making minimum wage. For the last two years they have recieved over $4,000 in COLA, I wish I had that kind of power over my pay raises. Do you want to know what I got for my COLA while working in one of the more expensive area’s of my state ? A whole wopping 25 cents an hour compared to the rest of the state. Its really time for people to start rising up, to put an end to all this garbage and to take back the country. “Government of the people, for the people, by the people” not a Government run by the few, who do it for their own greed and have the money to remain in power.

January 27, 2010 at 9:48 am
(48) Paul says:

For Lou,
You need to recheck your website again because its a democratic propaganda site, meant to hide current democratic agenda and crush articles damming their party. Its almost like the Nazi Party when they wanted to make sure people followed right in line with their agenda. This is the problem with this country, to many people that can so easily have the wool pulled over their eyes

January 27, 2010 at 10:34 am
(49) Robert Longley says:

Lou: FactCheck’s article is about 2010 raises. My article is about raises that took effect in Jan. 2009.

Also See: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/13/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4863877.shtml

“Congress Keeps Automatic Pay Raises”

“As the AP notes, a $4,700 pay raise took effect in January (2009); congressional salaries now stand at $174,000.”

Robert

February 1, 2010 at 11:11 am
(50) Detter says:

Did anyone read the previously posted factcheck? LOL\

http://factcheck.org/2010/01/retribution-fabrication/

February 1, 2010 at 11:41 am
(51) Robert Longley says:

Detter: One more time… the $4700 raise was for 2009, took effect Jan. 1, 2009, and is in effect now.

Also See: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/13/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4863877.shtml

“Congress Keeps Automatic Pay Raises”

“As the AP notes, a $4,700 pay raise took effect in January (2009); congressional salaries now stand at $174,000.”

Robert

March 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm
(52) True patriot says:

Money-shmunny I’d b happy to pay r representatives well if they represented us (American citizens).
When they wanna force our less educated citezens to compete for jobs with criminal aliens/undocumented democrats. They r’nt representing us. And why r they trying to get them amnesty? So they will get a huge voting block of people who don’t care about America on their side. Then this will b a one party nation and they’ll never again have to pretend to represent us.
Of course it can b said that they stopped pretending to represent us when they “bent the rules” in order to pass legislation that few Americans wanted. Immoral and incredibly wasteful legislation designed to lead to socialization.
Somewhere along the line these pompass, elitest, shmucks decided they could dictate to us, THE ELECTORATE, what kind of country we’re gonna live in. I think it’s time we dictate to them what kind of job they r’nt gonna have next yr.

March 30, 2010 at 3:33 pm
(53) jscrimshaw says:

Congress should get a raise equal to the rate of inflation for 2009. -.04%

May 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm
(54) Steve kunkel says:

During tough economic times congress should forgo their raise, otherwise their actions show that they are aloof and think that they are special…they need to show some courtesy to the American public and realize that they are the sevants to the American public not to special interest groups and lobbyists and to their own greed.

June 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(55) 2hands says:

If we all want to take back our country then we should all stand as 1 as they do! They want to give amnisty to those that are breaking the law and already living off the American tax payers, when in reality will do nothing to fix the problem of illegal alieans, they will still be crossing our borders taking our jobs, taking our our schools and taking our money out of our pockets. It seems that we are living to make them happy and giving them more than what we get in our own home! The health care plan is such a socialist peace of crap, it gives all hospitals the right to turn away any homeless or disabled or mentally ill person and let them die on there frunt steps. If we will all stand up at one time we can take back this country in a heartbeat. They want to give out a bailout with our money, or not give a cost of living raies whenever they get one, they want to bring terraist over here to hold them, send money to other countrys to help them out while we are living in the squaller that they put us in! If we would stand as one and just say that we will go on strike if our demands isn’t met and shut down this country for a week or so, I know that our message will get through to them idiots that think we can do nothing that goes against what they want to do. If the Unions can do it to get what they want then we as a country can do it to get what we want also! We as a people think that emails will show a sign of protest, get real, you know they all go into there junk mail. Everyone knows that actions speak loader than words. When are we going to stand up for ourselves and really be seen as a Republic instead of a house of cards that they can play with??

July 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm
(56) Todd says:

House and Senate members have not voted to give themselves raises. Congress voted to freeze its own pay for 2010.

There will be no House or Senate raise for 2011 either. Congress passed, and the President signed, H.R. 5146, which eliminates the automatic adjustment in pay for Members of Congress that would have taken place in 2011.

Congress did not vote to deny a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year, or next. The lack of a COLA results from the fact that the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) declined (mostly as a result of volatile oil prices). Congress does not vote on annual Social Security benefit levels. They have been set by a formula set in law since 1975.

Medicaid is a state-federal program for low-income persons, and premiums (where they exist) are set by states, not Congress. Medicare premiums haven’t gone up this year at all. For 73 percent of seniors, the basic Medicare Part B premium remains at $96.40 per month.

The“3% COLA” that would amount to “$660/yr.” That may be a reference to a bill introduced in September by Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina to grant an “emergency” 3 percent Social Security increase for 2010. That bill did not attract any cosponsors or come to a vote in the Ways and Means Committee, however. And Jones estimated that the average increase would amount to $35 per month, which doesn’t come close to $660 over a full year.

Sources
“The History of COLA,” U.S. Social Security Administration. undated Web page. Accessed 11 Sep 2009.

“Social Security Announces 5.8 Percent Benefit Increase for 2009″ press release. U.S. Social Security Administration. 16 Oct 2008.

“Cost-of-Living Adjustment Must Be Greater Than Zero,” U.S. Social Security Administration. Web page accessed 11 Sep 2009.

“Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs; A SUMMARY OF THE 2009 ANNUAL REPORTS; Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees,” U.S. Social Security Administration. 12 May 2009.

Barry, Patricia “Part B Premiums in 2010: Frozen for Many, Higher for Some: No Social Security cost-of-living increase next year means higher costs for some beneficiaries and states.” AARP Bulletin Today 7 May 2009.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS ANNOUNCES MEDICARE PREMIUMS, DEDUCTIBLES FOR 2010. 16 Oct 2009.

Omnibus Appropriation Act. Public Law 111-8, 111 Mar 2009.

July 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm
(57) Robert Longley says:

Todd: The article is about raises in 2009, not 2010. Note the date, Jan. 3, 2009. The raises kicked in on Jan. 1, 2009. You’re right about 2010.

August 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm
(58) gabethegeek says:

In 1855 Congress started getting an annual salary of $3,000.00 a year (http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2009/01/03/congress-getting-a-pay-raise-how-about-you.htm) and using a consumer price index the amount they should be making is $76,800.00 (http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/). I want you to keep in mind there were several options offered and i chose that value as the others seemed to low or ridiculusly high. I feel their pay should be reflective of our countries’ economic times. If the nation is doing well then yes they should be rewarded. if we are struggling then let them struggle. The increase to their pensions should be the same percentage as the increase to social security. Finally, i feel that anyone that gives service to this country wether it be in the armed services, the postal service or an elected position should be rewarded for that service by not taxing them for a period of time equal to their service. It should not be an inflated income.

September 26, 2010 at 10:27 am
(59) mr stone says:

something is very wrong with are government..what do they do with all the tax’s they collect?
there has to be an accounting .for example highway, why is it they need to use stimulus’s moneys what happen to all the tax moneys there where collected for just this area?
teachers again why is it the tax’s payers are balling out the teachers union? the union gives apx 90%
to the Democrats and about 10% to the republicans there’s something wrong here looks as if the teachers union is supporting the democrats or the tax’s payers of the united states are that’s not right.
we do need change all the way around these people in Washington are just thinking of them selves.
Congress Getting a Pay Raise – How About You?

Some say they work hard for the money, and unless they pass a bill rejecting it, members of the U.S. Congress will get $4,700 cost-of-living (COLA) raise beginning in January 2009. The average member of Congress will realize a 2.8 percent raise, bringing his or her annual salary to $174,000. The raises for congress will cost taxpayers $2.5 million during 2009.

With passage of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, lawmakers authorized themselves the automatic – no debate, no vote – annual cost-of-living raise unless they specifically pass legislation rejecting or reducing it. Congress has voted to reject the automatic raise six times since then, most recently in 2007. In 2008, lawmakers accepted a $4,100 raise. So far, no legislation rejecting the 2009 COLA increase has been introduced.
Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution requires Congress to set its own pay. From 1789
through 1968, Congress set its pay by passing stand-alone legislation, voting itself raises 22 times. By 1968, the first congressional salary of $1,500 (1815-1817) had increased to $30,000. While Congress can still pass stand-alone legislation to increase its own pay, and did so in 1982, 1983, 1989, and 1991, members have since depended on the automatic cost-of-living adjustment for their raises.

“The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.” — U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 6

From 1789 to 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 to $7.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving a regular annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.

During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin proposed that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Franklin’s proposal won little support. As you might guess, this year’s automatic raise for Congress coming as millions of American workers are giving up their cost-of-living raises in an effort to save their jobs — if they still have them – has similarly won little support.

September 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm
(60) henrietta holbert says:

pres. obama ran all over the country flying everwhere for what i don’t know he sure didn’ do anything for the american people but he had a lot of nice vacations while we pay for them and we can’t even get a pay raise on s.s. i think they should also raise how much we make befor we pay income tax that would help also

October 14, 2010 at 7:22 pm
(61) Richard Farmer says:

Here we are no raise for the seniors again.They say the cost of living hasn’t went up?Well they must shop where I do or buy gas Oh that’s right they don’t. Why do we have two elections.So they can take aother vacation.And why do we have a House and a Senate.Or as far as that goes Republicans and Democrates.What happened to We The People.I love my country but what is happening.

October 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm
(62) Michael says:

I think it’s immoral to see no cost of living increase in Social Security benefits. I also see it as discrimination in the highest degree against seniors, the disabled, and the poor. The prices of almost everything in the grocery stores continues to rise along with the price of oil, people are hurting trying to just get by as it is. If anything if they want to put another freeze of cost of living increase then it should only be done to the wealthy in the upper income bracket who wouldn’t be hurt by it and only raise the Medicare premiums on the upper income bracket and the FICA taxes of the wealthy working but stop hurting the middle class and the poor. Funny how our members of congress vote to give themselves a pay raise each year yet those on Social Security get screwed over. Doesn’t anyone in congress of both parties get it? Millions of Americans are hurting!

October 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(63) Charlotte Canton says:

I think it’s obscene that our Senators and Congressmen get pay increases when those seniors who depend on part of their income on Social Security do not. If the budget is tight, we all have to tighten our belts including those well paid Senators and Congressmen who can’t work together and resolve any of the problems . What are they doing to earn a pay increase. I’m voting out all incumbents except for those that are making an effort to resolve these economic problems . Try comprimising a little and maybe something will get done, election year or not.
Thank you for listening.

December 2, 2010 at 12:36 am
(64) Marvin Nelson says:

If a petition amendment gets going send me a bunch and I will distribute them in my part of the country. I also am on social security as well as my wife. I have letters to my senators and representative and they just don’t know what a straight answer is.

December 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm
(65) janet carlson says:

It’s not so much the money, but the DOING NOTHING TO GET IT. They (especially the republicans) all ought to be charged with grand larceny for cashing their paychecks. Where else can you do nothing, f*** everything you do, and still get paid?? Maybe that’s the TRUE American DREAM??

December 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm
(66) rebecca says:

i am disabled injured on my job i can not work was making 3K a month now i get 1,286.00 a month it eneded 11-02-2010 had not had a raise since 2004.. now i will get 991.00 a month from social security what a great life i get to much money to qualify for welfare

December 23, 2010 at 4:59 am
(67) Aaron says:

All 3 branches of goverment has forgotten what they stand for. Congress to FOD out of every part of goverment. So I can not stand and resepct the flag. How can anyone say the pledge? Causr it says ( I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.) Congress also spits onthe United States Constitution . They do evething againts it , It reads We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, So as the people we have the right to stand up and change the member of all three branche and exile them and there families from the US. It takes 2/3 of the people to make it so. I love this country and it sadans me to see what we the people have let pass by us.

January 21, 2011 at 7:52 am
(68) elisabeth smith says:

I think Congress should live like ordinary citizens, I also think it is about time that Americans stand up and “Repeal Healthcare for Congress”. The Government could be using that 2 million dollars a year toward the deficit.

February 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm
(69) dave says:

We have no one to blame but ourselves. We can vote them out of office, but we tend not to.
I write to them all the time and hardly ever get a reply back. I will vote for new people each time I vote from now on. That way they will not stay in for life.

March 2, 2011 at 9:26 am
(70) Emily says:

With the govt. considering shutting down for 2 weeks, perhaps the raises could be put back, 14 trillion dollar federal def., they do not deserve a raise!

March 17, 2011 at 2:54 am
(71) Jerry says:

Under Clinton, our country was beginning to pull out of the hole. Then after eight years of Bush, our deficit was huge. He skimmed money off of SS to pay for his wars. He only wanted to control the oil in the middle east and drove us into the ground doing it. Sadam had nothing to do with 911 and he knew it. That was the beginning of our down fall.

April 13, 2011 at 9:50 am
(72) William Gehring says:

If I’ve said it once , I’ve said it a hundred times , we have one of the most corrupt in the world. What’s bad is they don’t care if we know or not. They get theirs , rather we like it or not.

June 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm
(73) kalvinn says:

how can usa support all those congressmen? in such hard time you think they would cut back on them, should only be 10 congressmen in total it is obvious they not doing there job anyways. 14trillion in debt omg!!! also abolish mayors also how can usa afford them??

June 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm
(74) kalvinn says:

how can the president accept 450 thousand dollars a year in wages, when the country owes 14 trillion, what is going on??

June 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm
(75) kalvinn says:

did you know that the government borrowed 1.3 million to give to congressman wiener?and ill bet he did not have to pay tax on that either. how sad

July 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm
(76) Charles says:

How can republican congresssman continue to accept their pay raises when they are so against more taxes? Especially since they are paid from taxes. We know that they receive a cost of living allowance which allows for the fact that it cost more to live in this economy. Where do they think their pay raises are coming from?

August 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm
(77) Don C says:

When it comes to congress or I should say politicians. The word “GREEDY” comes to mind. We say..” lets vote them out and elect new and honest people!” My question is… Is there such a person? If so, once in office and they get the feel of “easy money” (taxpayers money) We are right back where we started. Here is my thoughts….”term limits” No more than two terms. Raises only by the approval of the “WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE” Each politician should be graded on his job performance, by his or her state. No more “golden retirements” They should be put on soc. sec. just like the rest of us. No more COLA. The “perks” these “jerks” receive should all be paid back. No more limousine to ride around in. Drive their own cars. (that we taxpayer bought) This list can go on and on. One other thing. No more “attorneys’ These are the A–h—s that make the laws that we “MUST” live by. If the politicians don’t start doing what is right. Revolution is on the way….You don’t have to be blind to see this!

October 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm
(78) mary cain says:

why does congress vote on their own raises? if icould vote myself a raise,( cost of livjng), i would get one every month. but why do they need a (cost of living), raise EVERY YEAR and I DON”T. try living on my income!

December 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm
(79) Mattox Hammons says:

Perhaps it’s time that America step up and remind our Fed Govt that they are the”employees not the employers.” In 1990 Congress annual salary was $98,400 annually, not including their additional benefits or COLA. From 1990 to 2003 Congress voted themseleves a $19337.50 per year pay increase, not including their additional benefits or COLA. Shouldn’t the American people decide who DESERVES a pay raise? And that pay raise based upon how that Congressperson(s) have represented their Constiuates? After all it is the taxpayers that have to pay for Congress and their self appointed pay increases

February 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm
(80) Philip Di Russo says:

put congress on social security wages and see what they will do about the cola put the cola on food ,fuel and medicine as the cost of living index

June 25, 2012 at 11:39 am
(81) robert vann wilson says:

cola is like a slap in the disable combat vets face we did the bleeding/dieing/suffering for life while congress stayed safe and secure treated like royality the disabled combat vet and congress should have the same pay/benifits this nation can afford it and never miss a penny with all the money they piss away on bs

August 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm
(82) vann wilson says:

the gov can fund a war but wont give the disabled combat enough to have a good life they should get the same salary/benifits as congress the vet did the dieing/bleeding/suffering for life for our freedoms congress is treated like royality while the vet has to scrape to get by from check to check congress bailed out their buddies banks/coorpations/ special intrest with trillions of dollars so they can’t say that they can’t afford to give the vet the same salary /benifits they get

January 2, 2013 at 11:38 am
(83) Jazzy says:

I believe that the COLA should be done away with. The very last thing that we’ve ever needed was a government that makes up their own salary. It is the taxpayers’ money that they are paying themselves with. I read a comment from one lawmaker that the COLA raise helps them maintain their home in washington and also their house in their state.
Thousands of hardworking americans have lost their ONLY home to foreclosure while paying their taxes every year so that the lawmakers that they have elected can own TWO homes. I believe that we (for the people and by the people) should be able to vote on this and put a stop to it for at least 5 years. If all the lawmakers, especially the ones that never vote against the raise, cant make it on 193,400/yr, then they dont need to have that kind of salary in the first place. IJS

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