‘Jokers couldn’t hold down a job at Dairy Queen’: Backlash when House Dems propose Congressional pay raise

House Democrats apparently believe all of their hard work chasing impeachment, collusion and obstruction claims against President Donald Trump deserve a reward.

Tone-deaf Congressional Democrats are now proposing a pay raise for themselves, lifting a nearly decade-long pay freeze that would effectively give them an extra $4,500 next year, according to The Hill.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Cost-of-living pay increases were guaranteed by a 1989 federal ethics law which was suspended by a Democratic-controlled Congress back in 2009 when salaries were at about $174,000. But now, with the House poised to vote next week on a $1 trillion spending package, 2020 funding bills could give lawmakers their first bump in salary in a decade.

The legislation would, for the first time since 2009, not include language that blocks an annual cost-of-living salary increase.

“An automatic cost of living adjustment for members of Congress is already included in federal law. There is strong bipartisan support for these modest inflation adjustments, and the Appropriations Committee is not including a provision to block the [cost-of-living adjustment] in fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills,” Evan Hollander, a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee, said.

“If members want to alter or eliminate the COLA, they should do so through the authorizing process — not appropriations bills,” he added.

According to The Hill:

Rank-and-file members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, while members of leadership earn more. The Speaker makes the highest salary at $223,500 while the majority and minority leaders earn $193,400.

The Congressional Research Service estimated that the 2018 salary level for rank-and-file members of Congress would be $208,000 if they had received the annual cost-of-living increases.

The maximum lawmaker pay adjustment for January 2020, as established under a 1989 ethics law, is 2.6 percent, or $4,500. House Democrats have also proposed giving federal workers a 3.1 percent pay raise.

 

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, currently serving in his 20th term in Congress, is behind the pay adjustment which he clarified was not a raise, citing the cost of housing in the District of Columbia.

“That was taken to court; the court ruled it was not a pay raise, it was an adjustment on an annual basis for inflation,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters Tuesday, according to Roll Call. “The salary that we receive is a decent salary — there’s no doubt about that. But one problem is that under the law, employees are capped. They can’t go above members of Congress. What you’ve got to understand … is that’s not only having an effect on members of Congress, it’s compressing salary structure.”

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out about raises for lawmakers last week and the unpopularity of the idea which then gives rise to “loopholes” in the system.

She also suggested the idea of “Congressional dorms” to offset the cost of housing.

While Hoyer did not thank President Trump for a booming economy, he did note that the improved national picture may make the increase in lawmakers’ pay more acceptable.

“I think when times are bad, then members of Congress ought to as well. But, in times when it’s not, I think of cost of living adjustment…was a reasonable thing to do,” Hoyer said, adding however, “I don’t think there’s ever a time when people think it’s very good politically to do.”

But the idea will almost certainly run into opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby already made it clear he is not board.

“I think the American people would think that Congress ought to earn it first,” the Alabama Republican said earlier this week.

Sen. Ben Sasse unloaded a more blistering take on the idea in a statement on Tuesday.

“Instead of writing a budget or reforming our bankrupt entitlement programs, House Democrats are angling for a pay raise. These jokers couldn’t hold down a summer job at Dairy Queen pulling this kinda crap,” the Nebraska Republican said.

Tennessee Rep. Mark Green echoed the sentiments as did South Carolina’s Rep. Ralph Norman and others.

The amazing lack of self-awareness by Democrats even proposing the idea was fodder for mockery on Twitter.

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