Pay of Congress

July 1, 1953

Report Outline
Moves of Heigher Congressional Compensation
Present Take-Home Pay and Fringe Benefits
Occupational Outlays of Legislators
Political Aspects of a Pay Raise

Moves of Heigher Congressional Compensation

Senate Bill for Pay Raise to $25,000 a Year

On the calendar of the U. S. Senate, awaiting an appropriate time for action, is a bill favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee in May which would increase the salaries of members of Congress from $15,000 to $25,000 a year. Senators and representatives have long had an eye on a pay raise to $25,000 but something has always arisen to interfere. Higher salaries for the national legislators were recommended by President Truman and the Hoover Commission, and have recently received warm endorsement from President Eisenhower. The proposed increase to $25,000 would make only an infinitesimal addition (.00717 per cent) to the Eisenhower budget of $74.1 billion and would cost the country only 3.4£ per capita. Congress has been urged from many quarters to vote itself an increase in pay, but is not sure how the proposed two-thirds salary hike would sit with the voters in the present state of the national finances.

When the first Independent Offices bill was before the House, Apr, 22, Rep. McCormack (D., Mass.), former majority leader of that body, offered an amendment to fix congressional pay at $22,500. He wanted “to see just how game some members … are in connection with their salaries.” But the amendment was ruled out on a point of order and was not again offered when the Legislative appropriation bill, to which it would have been germane, was put through the House in June.

Pending Tax Relief Proposal for Members

A different McCormack amendment, adopted by a voice vote June 22, would inch up congressional take-home pay by authorizing income tax deduction of all living expenses of members while in Washington. The allowable deduction is now limited to $3,000. The new provision would take effect next January 1, The Senate has given only reluctant approval to the tax-deduction device in the past. Chief benefits under the present proposal would go to members with large independent incomes who do not depend upon their congressional salaries to cover living and other expenses.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Congressional Pay
Jul. 01, 1953  Pay of Congress
Feb. 24, 1945  Compensation in Congress
Oct. 13, 1937  Wages and Hours of Members of Congress
Congressional Pay and Perquisites