Thursday, January 10, 2008

Democrats Bring Change to Washington

Specifically, they changed the salary for Members of Congress -- raising it by about $4,100 annually.

Hadn't read about this before? Don't feel bad; the pay raise was approved on an obscure procedural vote which attracted little attention.

Fortunately for members of Congress, their pay isn't tied to their approval ratings. Lawmakers in 2008 will receive salaries of $169,300, a boost of $4,100 over the pay they have lived with since January 2006...

The salary figures were published in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

Last year was the first since 1999, when the pay was $136,700, that members of Congress did not receive a cost-of-living allowance raise along with other federal employees. Democrats, newly elected to the majority, had vowed to block an increase in their paychecks until Congress raised the minimum wage.

With the minimum wage increase accomplished last year, House Democratic leaders joined with their Republican counterparts to oppose a procedural vote to bring the COLA issue to the floor, leaving the way clear for their automatic raise.

I have explained before that Congressional Democrats have been extraordinarily hypocritical with regard to the minimum wage. Simply put, they spent years blocking the increase that they allowed to pass once they gained the majority. Now they're rewarding themselves with a pay increase for having ceased to block a minimum wage increase.

You have to hand it to the Democrats: the Republicans never could have done that -- the media wouldn't have let them. And while the amount of the increase is relatively small -- it is, after all, a COLA -- it's interesting that the Democratic leadership passed it in an unobtrusive way, and ended up publishing the amount of the increase months later, in an obscure federal register notice.

So much for openness.

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