The agreement to re-open the government and raise the debt limit features a payout to the millionaire widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, according to a copy of the draft legislation.
The legislation reads that there is an appropriated payment due to Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, widow of the late New Jersey Democrat, for $174,000.
The one-time payment is equivalent to one year’s salary for a senator. Congress has a long-time tradition of making such payments to widows.
However, some have suggested that the payment is unnecessary considering Lautenberg’s net worth in 2012 was $56.8 million.
Additionally, Lautenberg was unaware of the funds until just recently, meaning her financial situation is not one in which she must seek out extra funds.
“I just learned about this recently in the news,” Lautenberg said. “I don’t want to comment on it until I make some decisions about how to handle this.”
Sen. Jon Tester said he wished the Senate had passed a clean bill, noting that he and other Senators found out about the provision just before voting and didn’t have time to debate it.
Tester added that a surprise such as this is why the approval rating for Congress is so low.