Congress: You Get What You Pay For

You Get What You Pay For

Members of Congress pocketed $7.5 million in honorariums last year, often for delivering speeches at luxurious resorts. Last week a presidential advisory commission recommended a ban on this lucrative sideline, but at a price: a 50% increase in the lawmaker's salaries, to $135,000, along with pay hikes for the judiciary and top Executive Branch officials.

A ban on congressional speaking fees would require new legislation. But if Ronald Reagan includes the raises in his last budget, they will automatically take effect unless Congress votes within 30 days to forgo them. In 1987, when Congressmen got a $12,100 pay raise, the House...

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