Rep. James Moran (D-VA), who is retiring at the end of 2014, thinks Congress deserves a raise.
“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” he told CQ Roll Call. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”
He added that some members sleep in their offices or in “small little apartment units” when they are in Washington, D.C.
“Our pay has been frozen for three years and we’re planning on freezing it a fourth year,” he said. “A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington.”
The salaries for members of congress have been frozen at $174,000 per year since 2010. During a committee markup for the bill that funds members’ salaries, Moran said he would submit an amendment to highlight Congress’ lack of a raise to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s budget, according to CQ Roll Call.
Moran said that legislators should get a per diem allowance, as most state legislatures provide them for representatives. He isn’t optimistic about an amendment passing, however.
Moran is far from the first member of Congress to complain about the pay.
During the federal government shutdown in October 2013, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) explained that she could not afford to give up her pay.
“I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that’s admirable. I’m not in that position,” she told local Raleigh, N.C. TV station WTVD.
In 2011, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) said he would not support a cut to his pay, explaining that he had a hard time supporting his family of seven on his salary.