Rep. Rosa DeLauro Says No to a Pay Raise for Members of Congress

By Liam Sigler | June 12, 2019 | 9:48am EDT
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

( – Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) says she is not among the Democrats who support a pay raise for members of Congress.

At the U.S. Capitol on June 11, asked Rep. DeLauro: “At $174,000, members of Congress get paid a salary that is 370 percent of the median earnings of a full-time American worker. Do you deserve a raise?”

DeLauro responded: “I am not supporting an increase in a raise. What I have done over the last several years is, I have taken that money, and I do not take it, I put it toward a scholarship in my dad’s name, my mother and father, for the last 29 years.”

DeLauro’s net worth, by some estimates, is around $20 million.

Members of Congress last received a pay raise in January 2009. At that time, their salary increased 2.8 percent, to $174,000. According to the Congressional Research Service, when adjusted for inflation, lawmakers’ salaries have decreased 15 percent since the last pay adjustment in 2009.

The Ethics Reform Act of 1989 changed the way the annual pay adjustment is determined for lawmakers. Now the annual adjustment take effect automatically unless Congress prohibits it or modifies it.

Under this revised method, according to CRS, annual adjustments were accepted 13 times (1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009); and denied 16 times (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019).

For the current year, lawmakers are eligible for a maximum pay raise of 2.6 percent, or $4,500.

But House Democrats reportedly backed off a bipartisan agreement to give themselves a that 2.6 percent raise.

Press reports said the opposition came from freshmen Democrats in vulnerable districts.

"Nobody wants to vote to give themselves a raise. There's nothing good about that," said Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), one of the 15 freshmen Democrats who opposed the legislation, was quoted as saying.

If Congress had continued approving cost-of-living increases over the last 10 years, their salaries would have ballooned to $210,900 from the current $174,000.

As reported, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told a news conference on Tuesday that congressional pay raises prompt an “emotional” response, but he said he thinks it’s something that should be considered.

"I do not want Congress, at the end of the day, to only be a place that millionaires serve. This should be a body of the people. And I think it's something that should be looked at," McCarthy said.

He also noted that staff salaries are tied to what lawmakers earn.


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