April 27th, 2010
05:08 PM ET
4 years ago

House votes to block lawmakers' 2011 pay increase

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to block the annual pay raise for members of Congress.
The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to block the annual pay raise for members of Congress.

Washington (CNN) - With midterm elections on the horizon and the nation's unemployment rate at 9.7 percent, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to block pay raises for members of Congress for the next fiscal year. The vote was 402-15.

Read the breakdown of the vote on the House website

The House action follows a similar move by the Senate last week.

Rules approved by Congress in 1989 provide for an automatic yearly cost of living adjustment, also known as a "COLA," in order to avoid the awkward situation of lawmakers voting to approve their own raises each year.

The current base salary for rank and file House members is $174,000 a year, with leaders earning more. Lawmakers were scheduled to receive a 0.9 percent raise in fiscal year 2011, adding $1600 to the current base salary, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Reps. Harry Mitchell, D-Arizona, and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, co-sponsored the House legislation cancelling the House's annual pay increase for fiscal year 2011.

"With unemployment high and so many families under stress," Mitchell said on the House floor, "it would simply be unconscionable for Congress to raise its own pay, but that is precisely what will happen in fiscal year 2011 unless Congress takes action to stop it. This bill is simply the right thing to do."

Separately, Matheson is pressing for a bill that would block automatic annual increases and require that Congress vote every year on any pay hikes.

Updated: 5:34 p.m.


Filed under: House
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. BarbaraSamburu

    Pull in your belts and join the rest of us. Times are tough.

    April 27, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    I wonder who the fifteen politically suicidal twits were...

    April 27, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Raymond

    who voted agasint this?

    April 27, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. jane

    We need more Senators like Carl Levin in Washington Maybe we would not be so close to self destruction which is the path we are heading...God bless him and I am not even from Michigan

    April 27, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. Bandit24

    Who are the fifteen. Name them and shame them. In Nov. vote them out.

    April 27, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. IKHAN

    About time the lawmakers woke up to reality.

    Along with this measure the politicians should be barred from holding"dual loyalty" that is preferring to watch the interests of a foreign govt rather than American interests, while holding public positions in this country.

    Believe me there are many.

    April 27, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. dan

    These guys don't deserve any money. Washington needs to have a layoff. Take the money that were saving from the layoff and put it towards the deficit. I don't think we will miss the ones layed off , because nothing is getting done .

    April 27, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Chuck Werner

    It was all democrats who voted against the bill.

    Clyburn
    Conyers
    Edwards (MD)
    Ellison
    Jackson Lee (TX)
    Johnson, E. B.
    Kilpatrick (MI)
    Lee (CA)
    Meeks (NY)
    Moran (VA)
    Payne
    Thompson (MS)
    Towns
    Watt
    Woolsey

    April 27, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Bryant Johnson, Don't Tread On Me, Goldsboro, NC

    Gee... Mighty nice of those crooks to forego a raise so they can build political capital. Maybe they should join the rest of us and work (vote) for a raise each year instead of getting it automatically.

    April 27, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    Common sense rules (other than the 15!) Yay! Take a take a picture, frame this story! This might not happen again for a for a long time, if ever! You want to know who the 15 are? look it up in the Congressional Records!

    April 27, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Harbor Oregon Democrat

    thats great next is to actually cut the salaries . to what mainstream america is making for actually not having to even have a degree just being able to get your self elected to represent the people yes most of americans can actually do these jobs .. so time to lower the pay .. maybe about around $ 45,000.00 per year works for me :)

    April 27, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Steve (the real one)

    Chuck Werner April 27th, 2010 5:34 pm ET
    It was all democrats who voted against the bill.

    Clyburn
    Conyers
    Edwards (MD)
    Ellison
    Jackson Lee (TX)
    Johnson, E. B.
    Kilpatrick (MI)
    Lee (CA)
    Meeks (NY)
    Moran (VA)
    Payne
    Thompson (MS)
    Towns
    Watt
    Woolsey
    ----------–
    SUPRISE!!! (not really)

    April 27, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Oregon Calling

    I think that raises for congress should be voted on by the public along with the President every 4 years.

    Peace :-0

    April 27, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Jonathan

    @IKHAN About time? They have done this for three years in a row now, and with good reason too. About time people know these sorts of facts really..

    April 27, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. jay1975

    Finally, some bipartisan support for something.

    April 27, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Jon In Madison

    If a CEO of a failing company makes 6 figures, we demand that they give some back, but when congress fails we still see it fit to pay them $174,000 a year for rank and file. What a bunch of jerks. And, it was nice to see that 15 dems even thought that they deserved a raise.

    April 27, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. RA

    Rules approved by Congress in 1989 provide for an automatic yearly cost of living adjustment, also known as a "COLA," in order to avoid the awkward situation of lawmakers voting to approve their own raises each year.

    Must be nice to get a auto pay raise EVERY YEAR the last 21 years!!
    Alot of these people have served longer than that. Article failed to mention that these people in gov/office have had a "raise" every year sense the 1930's. Can you believe that crap??!! No wonder these people don't ever want to retire from Gov. Funny, Gov. says I'm too old at 65 to work and I have to retire, but not them. WONDER WHY?? $$$

    How about making the pay freezes longer? How about for the next 21 years. That sounds like a fair trade off, give the people the money for the next 21 years!!

    I live in Ca and I'm a State worker, good ol Arnold wants to give me a perm 15% cut. If that Meg Whitman wins the Gov. she wants to do the same. i GUESS I SHOULD BE THANKFUL. GOV. IS GIVING UP THERE $$$ FOR 1 WHOLE YEAR!!

    April 27, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    They don'y have to worry after the election they will just double it to make up for the first one.

    How in the hell did they get the power to vote for a raise anyway. Wouldn't that be a conflic of interest.

    Wish I could do that in my job but no way.

    We need to find a way to take that power away and we vote for their raises.

    April 27, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Missy

    If the elderly and disabled dependent solely upon Social Security were not entitled to a COLA this year, then certainly neither should be the congress, any other federal employees, nor any other federally assisted citizens.

    April 27, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Bill

    Wish I could vote on a pay raise...but I am on SSDI and they already voted against a COLA for 2010-11. Nice folks...NOT!

    April 27, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Leslie

    Thank you, House!!!!!!

    April 27, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Fire any of them that just keep stalling instead of honest debates to solve the problems of this country.

    Stall? You're fired.

    Work or hit the road !!

    April 27, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Tina Soren

    It's about time. Frankly, I think the elected should serve for NO salary, but because it is their turn to serve. If they can raise millions to run for office, they can surely raise their own salaries along with it. Sick of feeders at the public trough. Their only interests and main goals are $ for the next election.

    April 27, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. Peter

    "...Lawmakers were scheduled to receive a 0.9 percent raise in fiscal year 2011,"

    Gee. And SS and other retirees/disabled on Social Security received ZERO this past year. And may nolt receive anything in 2011.

    I guess COLAs for some are more important than COLAs for others.

    April 27, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It's ironic that congress didn't block their automatic raise last year during one of the worst economic years in history, but voted to block it this year because of the elections. Next year it will be back to business as usuual fleecing the workers of America. This is very much like the 14 years of the republican domination of Washington.

    April 27, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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