Members of Congress are Underpaid


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Those poor, overworked bastards in Congress. They're sleeping under their office desks, huddled, shivering and hungry. So underpaid they can't even afford a decent roof over their heads. That's why it's critical that we pay our long-suffering lawmakers more money.

Never mind that a majority of the members of Congress are millionaires.

Also See: How Rich Is Congress? Most Lawmakers Are Now Millionaires

Representative James P. Moran, a 12-term Virginia Democrat, has announced his retirement effective the end of this year, but has one final task in mind: getting his Congressional colleagues a pay raise.

"I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid," Moran told 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."

Now that's just giving board members everywhere a bad name.

While members of Congress make $174,000 per year, Moran said that some members have taken to living out of their offices to save money. Others have "small little apartment units" that make it impossible to spend adequate time with their families.

While Representative Moran, a former stockbroker, is not among the ten poorest members of Congress, in 2010 the Washington Post reported that he had made hundreds of stock trades over a period ranging from 1995 to 2003 "potentially worth more than $3 million" -- with additional hundreds of thousands of dollars of losses due to options trading. Recent reports indicate that Moran hasn't conducted stock trades for six years. A divorce nearly four years ago also cost him dearly.

"Our pay has been frozen for three years and we're planning on freezing it a fourth year," Moran said. "A lot of members can't even afford to live decently in Washington."

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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