NEXSTAR (DC)– Lawmakers are pumping the breaks on plans to raise their own pay by thousands of dollars, but supporters say it’s not off the table just yet.
Democratic US Representative Abigail Spanberger shares, “I don’t think that we should be focusing on an issue like whether or not our pay should increase.”
The Virginia Democrat is one of more than a dozen lawmakers vowing to block a $4,500 pay raise for members of Congress.
Right now most lawmakers make $174,000 a year. Spanberger says Congress should be focusing instead on passing policy reforms.
She explains, “I am putting the needs of my constituents and the priorities of my constituents ahead of anything that is focused solely on me.”
But Republicans and Democratic lawmakers who support the raise argue this isn’t about them. But about their staff.
By law, Congressional staffers can’t get a raise unless members do. Something that hasn’t happened in a decade.
Even though staffers often research and write the bills lawmakers propose, they only make an average of $50,000 a year. That’s not much in one of the country’s most expensive cities.
Rep. Spanberger adds, “Frankly we have constituents across our states and country who are struggling to make ends meet.”
While Spanberger may not agree, the idea is still gaining traction.
A former staffer to Republican House Speaker, Paul Ryan took to Twitter to support a raise. He says low pay is having a “negative effect on Congress.”
House Majority Leader Democrat Steny Hoyer agrees, saying he’ll continue to strive for higher pay to attract the “best and brightest.”
Hoyer put this week’s pay raise vote on hold so that he and Republican leaders can gather support.