Washington Deserves a Raise

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WASHINGTON: Is it the robust economy? Pride over the balanced-budget deal? What exactly made Congress, after five years of roughing it, decide its members deserve a raise? Well, not a raise exactly, but a cost-of-living increase the same 2.3 percent that all the other federal employees receive. True, their current $133,600 salary means that lawmakers will get $3,072 more, a lot more than is due, say, the janitor at the Department of Justice.

Inflation still exists, though Wall Streeters would have us believe otherwise, and for a lawmaker expected to keep up two residences (not to mention appearances), $133,600 doesn't go as far as it used to. The votes, 220-207 Tuesday in the House and 55-45 Wednesday in the Senate, were close but only in the way that vulnerable lawmakers get cover from their more secure counterparts. As Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) pointed out, lawmakers who don't want the raise can return the money to the Treasury.

We'll let you know just as soon as someone does.