Congress Is Still Pulling $174,000 Salaries During the Government Shutdown
“Next time we have a gov shutdown, Congressional salaries should be furloughed as well,” tweeted Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines & then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision. Have some integrity.”
The average Congress member makes makes $174,000 annually (minority and majority leaders make $193,400). And, according to Quartz, the median net worth of representatives is $900,000 and senators is $3.2 million—12 times more than the average American. Many lawmakers have been little sympathetic to federal employees in more precarious financial positions. When Politico reporter Sarah Ferris asked Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) about federal employees going without pay, he answered, “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?”
Perhaps he should ask one of the 42,000 Coast Guard members, who are among those working without pay during the shutdown. Their starting annual salary is $20,000 and the average petty officer makes $42,000. Other federal workers shared their anxiety over mortgage payments, auto loans, and insulin costs on Twitter under #shutdownstories.
What Republican lawmakers, chief among them the so-called fiscal conservatives, are asking the American people to fund is one grand monument against brown people—an $8 billion photo op for Trump as rally banner for a racist base. Given that value system, it’s no surprise that the very same politicians would force ordinary working Americans to suffer for a political stunt while making no sacrifices of their own.