Congress to take 2010 cost of living increase - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Congress to take 2010 cost of living increase

WASHINGTON. - It's been said these days that 'even' is the new raise which is a statement that rings true for many Americans, but what about Congress?

Our elected officials, who often refer to themselves as public servants, get what's called a 'COLA' or cost of living increase.

In 2009, Congress took their COLA of 2.8 percent at a cost of $2.5 million to you, the taxpayer, which upped their annual salaries to $174,000.

For 2010, Congress is again planning to take their cost of living increase, even as 10 million Americans are out of work or having their own wages frozen.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris, R-Wash., is against taking the increase, but will get it anyway and the same is true for both Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution states Congress can set their own wage and they have done so many times over the years since 1789.

Founding father Benjamin Franklin proposed not paying Congress anything for their service, but even back then, his idea won little support. Instead, Congress voted themselves a 'per diem' of $6 per day and only while Congress was in session.

In 1855, Congress received a regular salary of $3,000 and since then, it has been increased 22 times by Congress to the current $174,000.

- Bill McGinty
KHQ Local News

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