AOC and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Agree: Give Congress a Pay Raise

By Susan Jones | June 11, 2019 | 10:51am EDT
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - Here's something some Republicans and Democrats agree on: giving themselves a pay raise.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had a "twofold" response on Tuesday when he was asked about a bill that would raise lawmakers' pay by $4,500 to $178,500, up from the current $174,000.

"I know when you talk [about] this subject, about a COLA, a cost of living increase, it does evoke an emotion -- kind of an implusive emotion," McCarthy told a news conference. "I think it's one that we should pause."

McCarthy noted that it's been more than 10 years since the last congressional cost-of-living increase:

"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.

"The other thing that happens to the cost-of-living increase that hasn't increased in 10 years -- it's also tied to the staff and to the security inside Congress. I know the Executive Branch continued to go up in the last 10 years. But it brings a real challenge to staff as well."

Press reports say House Democrat leaders, at a closed-door meeting Monday night, postponed consideration of a bill that would have raised lawmakers' pay.

"At least 15 Democrats — mostly freshmen in competitive districts — had pushed to freeze pay after some Democratic and Republican leaders quietly agreed to the slight pay increase earlier this month," Politico reported.

Socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) agrees that she and other lawmakers should get a pay raise.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, she wrote: "Voting against cost of living increases for members of Congress may sound nice, but doing so only increases pressure on them to keep dark money loopholes open. This makes campaign finance reform *harder.* ALL workers deserve cost of living increases, incl min wage "

She noted that this is not a "fun or politically popular position to take."

She also tweeted, "In democratically socialist businesses (like worker co-ops) or methods (like collective bargaining) you actually CAN vote for a worker pay increase. Many do! We can’t pass these laws bc of big money. This is how you chip at it."

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