Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Moran’s Housing Stipend Gets Some Sympathy on House Floor

cole 059 110411 440x292 Morans Housing Stipend Gets Some Sympathy on House Floor

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Appropriators showed some sympathy on the House floor Wednesday for Rep. James P. Moran’s concern that members of Congress aren’t paid well enough to afford Washington.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who holds the gavel on the panel that funds House operations, disagreed with Moran’s proposed housing stipend, pointing out that it was out of order on a spending bill, but said repeatedly that he was “glad” the Virginia Democrat made the “important point.”

Moran pitched an amendment that would have added about $2,800 to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary to help cover the high cost of living in the District and its immediate surrounding area. His framed his proposal, rejected by the House Rules Committee, as a way to diversify the ranks of Congress beyond independently wealthy members and those looking to cash out for fat private sector paychecks.

“I particularly share your concerns about the long-term character of the body, and I think those are well made,” Cole said Wednesday.  ”I don’t think we are in any danger right now of reaching that point, but I think my friend does point out a trend that could occur.

“I would also be quick to add there are about as many different styles of members as there are members themselves,” Cole continued, saying that some serve only a few years in Congress, not because they want to cash out, but because they support term limits. “They just think that’s the appropriate length of time, and that’s a judgment that quite often shared by their constituents.”

Moran, who is retiring at the end of this term after 23 years in Congress, has watched congressional pay decline by 20 percent in actual dollars during his tenure. This is the first time a congressional pay freeze has been included in the legislative branch appropriations bill, and Moran worries his colleagues are setting a “dangerous precedent.”

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., also supported a salary increase and suggested that, with “at least 20 members of the House of Representatives living in their offices” and moderate annual rent in D.C. hovering around $27,000, now might be a good time to act.

“I don’t think it unreasonable for us to not only have a discussion, but to do something about the fact that there are members that are here that can’t afford that on the salary that they make,” Hastings said on the floor Wednesday.

He suggested that the public might be more sympathetic to the idea if they could see that the representative they elect “cannot serve in a proper manner living in accommodations, that I think they deserve by getting to this high station.”

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  • Layla

    “He suggested that the public might be more sympathetic to the idea if
    they could see that the representative they elect “cannot serve in a
    proper manner living in accommodations, that I think they deserve by
    getting to this high station.”

    Ever seen military housing, Mr. Moran? Ever lived in it? It’s substandard, slum level.

    Congress is responsible for bankrupting this entire country and you still expect rewards? If it were up to me, about 50% of you would be in jail for what you have done.

  • Water Dude

    Since our minds cannot predict their own future, civilization’s advance consists of learning from our mistakes, taking into account the lessons of accidents, and making the most of the fleeting circumstances we are faced with.

  • YONATAN C

    The Republican party and their cronies have done themselves a great disservice by holding the extension bill hostage since late last December. While they continued delaying and rejecting each proposal submitted in the senate, millions of families have suffered adversely financially. Millions of families have faced eviction, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness, while the republican senate played “party politics”, using these families as bargaining chips, for political leverage, to further their political agenda. These are people with children who are suffering for no fault of their own, because of lay offs and corporate downsizing. These are not the “lazy” unemployed workers depicted in the press by some republicans in the senate. It’s always easy to point blame at others for failures, rather to one’s own self for failed policies. Remember, it wasn’t the poor and unemployed that caused our economy “meltdown” several years ago. It was the greedy bankers that were responsible, and needed bailing out with taxpayer’s dollars. Which after the bail outs, gave each other huge bonuses. Now the republican party, with senators such as John Boehner, are holding the much needed help for these families as leverage for the passing of their OIL bill in the senate. Sadly, this is what it all comes down to. I hope the republicans are prepared for the tremendous backlash by these millions of families and their loved ones in the coming elections. They may not care at the moment, but I assure you that they will realized their mistake when the democrats win by another landslide. The republicans have proven themselves to represent only the interests of a chosen few in our great country

  • YONATAN C

    SHAME OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR NOT CARING ABOUT THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED IN OUR COUNTRY. THERE ARE FAMILIES LIVING IN THEIR VEHICLES AND ON THE STREET, SINCE LAST DECEMBER WHEN THE REPUBLICAN SENATE REJECTED THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL. OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS, MORE AND MORE FAMILIES ARE FACING EVICTIONS, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE HOLDING THE BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE. THEY HAVE USED THESE 2.6 MILLION FAMILIES FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE TO FURTHER THEIR PARTY’S POLITICAL AGENDA. THEY ARE MORE CONCERN WITH PLEASING THE KOCH BROTHERS THAN THE 99 PERCENT OF THE REST OF US AMERICANS. THEY HAVE CLEARLY SHOWN US JUST WHERE THE COMMON MAN FITS IN THEIR POLITICAL SCHEME OF THINGS. IF YOU HAVEN’T FIGURED IT OUT YET, WE FIT AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THEIR LIST. THE REPUBLICAN SENATE ARE A BUNCH OF SELF RIGHTEOUS, SELF PROMOTING, EGOTISTICAL, CAREER POLITICIANS, WHO DO NOT DESERVE OUR VOTE OR SUPPORT IN THE FUTURE. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU OR ME, OR YOUR FAMILY

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