Despite earning $174,000 per year, two senior House Democrats believe that salaries should be raised for members. A raise has not been given since 2009.
“We’re entering our seventh year without a pay raise,” Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., told Roll Call Monday. “Now I think we’ve proven to the American public that we are responsible. And I know that it has impacted me personally.”
“We have more than 50 members, probably as many as 75 or more living in their offices,” he continued. “They’re not there because of any other reason than that they can’t afford it… Now if people want us in sackcloth and ashes then they will get what they rightly deserve as representation.”
Members get an automatic cost of living pay increase, allowance to travel to their district, and other perks along with their annual salary. Still, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., concurred with his colleague that salaries should be raised for members.
“This will be the seventh year in a row that we have not done a cost-of-living adjustment. … I think it was appropriate at the time of the recession,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, according to Politico. “But to continue that on, we will dictate that the only people who can serve are the rich, and I don’t think that’s what the Founding Fathers had in mind.”
As The Washington Free Beacon points out, Hastings is the second least wealthiest member in Congress, with $7.5 million in debt. But most of that is due to 30-year-old corruption charges. The publication continues:
In 1981, two years after President Jimmy Carter appointed Hastings to the federal bench, the FBI conducted a sting operation designed to catch Hastings soliciting bribes in exchange for reducing racketeering sentences for two brothers convicted of ripping off a union pension fund.
FBI agents busted a friend of Hastings’, D.C. lawyer William Borders, when he accepted a $150,000 bribe, allegedly on Hastings’ behalf, in exchange for lenient sentencing.
Hastings was acquitted of subsequent bribery charges, while Borders was convicted and later given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton. However, a subsequent investigation by a federal court of appeals found that Hastings was probably complicit in the scheme, his acquittal notwithstanding.
The report also concluded that Hastings had lied under oath during the trial. The House took up impeachment proceedings against Hastings, leveling 17 charges against him.
Hastings was convicted on six of those charges by a Senate investigation panel, becoming the sixth federal official to be removed from office by impeachment. He sued, contending that the full Senate did not conduct the proceedings, but rather a committee. While a federal judge ruled in his favor, the Supreme Court did not.
This is a breakdown of some of Hastings’ debt:
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth