Brad Sylvester, DCNF
A post shared on Facebook more than 82,000 times claims House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hid $25 million worth of congressional pay raises in the House coronavirus stimulus package.
The coronavirus stimulus package appropriates $25 million for House “salaries and expenses” necessary to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” Those funds do not include a pay raise for members of Congress.
President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday the $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at helping relieve financial burdens to Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Some social media users alleged that the bill included hidden pay raises for members of Congress.
“Guess what else Nancy hid in her stimulus bill?” reads one post. “A pay increase for Congress! But it’s only $25M.”
But this is incorrect. While the stimulus package does include $25 million for House “salaries and expenses,” those funds will not go to a “pay increase” for members of Congress. Instead, they go toward “necessary expenses of the House of Representatives to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus,” according to the text of the bill.
Evan Hollander, communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, explained further in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation:
The $25 million funding is to support the House’s capability to telework, including for the purchase of equipment and improvements to the network. It will also provide for reimbursement costs for the staff of the House Child Care Center and covers the costs of the House food service contracts. In addition, it will support the House Sergeant-At-Arms on continuity of operations matters.
The bill signed into law and an earlier GOP-backed proposal included the $25 million appropriation for House “salaries and expenses,” according to The Associated Press.
In accordance with the 1989 Ethics Reform Act, congressional salaries adjustments are automatic and based on changes in private sector wages, unless the adjustment is statutorily denied. Congress has voted against pay increases since 2009, when they first instituted a pay freeze.
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