Issue Profile: Congressional Pay Reform Act of 2011

Mar 14, 2012

Did you know that the average Congressman collects a salary nearly three-and-a-half times higher than what the average American household earns? Current rank-and-file Members in the both the House and Senate earn $174,000 a year; Senate and House Majority and Minority Leaders earn $193,400; and the Speaker of the House earns $223,500.

The average American household income is $49,909.

And despite record low approval ratings for Congress, every year they get an automatic pay raise thanks to a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Meanwhile, most private sector Americans operate on a pay for performance basis. With the economy slumping, they are either not getting a raise or only getting small raises (compared to the 2.5% increase Congress gets).

To address the disparity, Congressman Joe Wilson introduced the Congressional Pay Reform Act (H.R.187). The bill would eliminate automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress. Any attempt to raise Members' pay would require a recorded vote. That would allow the American people to know when their representatives are voting to increase their salaries.

It is transparency and accountability all wrapped up into a neat, three-page package.