Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida called for a Congressional pay raise (video below) as the House prepares to vote on next year’s budget for the Legislative Branch, which would prevent a pay raise for members and leave the salary at $174,000 in 2016.
“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” Hastings said. “We aren’t being paid properly.”
Hastings advocated for a pay hike during a meeting of the House Rules Committee. He spoke of his own struggle with housing in particular, citing a recent move as a result of being priced out of his luxury apartment in Senate Square.
“This institution is heading towards elitism,” he said. “And that’s crazy.”
Hastings warned that members of Congress who have children will come to realize, if the pay remains stalled, “that on the salary that they make, they’re going to be unable to send their children to college.”
Hastings also advocated for a pay increase for staff members, revealing that he recently lost three top staffers because “they needed to make more money.”
“I knew that to be the case because they, like the rest of us, had been with me for a period of time and there was very little in the budget that would allow for increases,” he said. “I think it will ultimately lead to a serious morale problem."
Watch Hastings’ full speech below.
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Photo Credit: Wikicommons, Tom Williams/Roll Call