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Tipsheet

Congress Gives Itself Double-Digit Raise

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Amid economic turmoil for the American people, their representatives in Washington gave their offices a double-digit raise this month even as the average American worker finds their real wages decreasing due to inflation that outpaces wages at new.

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If you missed Congress giving itself a little pat on the back, that's understandable — members aren't likely to tout outside the beltway how they're filling their own office coffers, plus the funding increase for congressional offices was just one part of the 2,700+ page omnibus bill that funded the U.S. government to the tune of some $1.5 trillion.

As RollCall explains, "the $5.9 billion fiscal 2022 Legislative Branch funding portion would substantially boost the office budgets of House members" and "would provide $774.4 million for the Members Representational Allowance, known as the MRA, which funds the House office budgets for lawmakers, including staffer salaries."

The increased taxpayer funding for congressional offices is $134.4 million more than was allocated in the last fiscal year — a 21 percent increase — according to the House Appropriations Committee summary. In addition, congressional offices on the House side get $18.2 million for paid internships.

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This increase in taxpayer dollars going to congressional offices, of course, comes as the Americans Congress represents continue to struggle under President Biden and congressional Democrats' economic policy. The resulting 40-year high for consumer prices paired with the most expensive gas ever means Americans are feeling the pain almost every time they open their wallets. From the gas pump to grocery stores to utility bills, Americans are paying more than they have in at least a generation, and Congress just gave itself a double-digit increase in money collected from Americans.

Compare Congress' 21 percent "raise" for their offices with the 5.1 percent year-over-year wage growth for households reported in February's jobs report and you can see why Americans might not be thrilled. Factor in consumer inflation that's hovering around 7.5 percent year-over-year, and hardworking Americans' real wages are down two percent. For Congress, even with inflation at a 40-year high, their offices are still set for a 13.5 percent raise. 

Not to belabor the point, but again, the 21 percent increase in congressional office budgets is money that was taken from the wages of the American people. We work and pay federal taxes — on top of the inflation "tax" on everything else — and Congress uses workers' labor to give themselves a raise.

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Also in the bloated budget bill? $1 million for something of a rainy day fund for President Biden — just in case he needs it. 

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