Hoyer Says Congressional Pay Raises Unlikely This Year

Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:41pm

It’s not looking like Congress will be giving itself a pay raise this year, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) signaled Tuesday.

The Employee Cost Index, which dictates whether federal lawmakers receive a cost-of-living adjustment, “may show that employees in the private sector unfortunately did not move forward,” Hoyer said. “Under those circumstances, the law specifically says that we don’t move forward. So the law may take care of itself.”

Hoyer said he is “not happy” that most workers — public and private — are looking at no increases in the coming year and added that Congress will “cross that bridge when we come to it.” He clarified that lawmakers don’t receive pay raises but cost-of-living adjustments.

In the name of government cost-cutting, three lawmakers — Reps. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) — have introduced separate bills to prevent pay raises for Members of Congress. Sestak and Burton are looking to stop pay increases in 2010, while Latta wants to block “automatic pay adjustments” for lawmakers.

Talk of freezing Congressional pay comes just days after President Barack Obama announced plans to freeze the salaries of some 120 administration staffers who make more than $100,000 per year. The move is estimated to save about $443,000 next year.

“During this period of economic emergency, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington,” Obama said last week at a press conference.