This is a new change for this year, backed by both parties. House Members can now claim reimbursement for lodging, meals and incidentals for days they are actually in Washington, DC and the House is in session.
Of course, they COULD take some of those cost of living adjustments they have been refusing since 2009 and they wouldn’t have this issue.
Their pay increased to $174,000 in 2009 and has been kept that way ever since.
If they had not refused any pay raises since the cost of living act was passed in 1989, their pay would now be $232,600, the same as United States District Judges.
I don’t suggest that it be adjusted that high.
I would tie Congressional pay to Level III of the Executive Schedule, which would result in Congressional pay being $195,000 in 2023 and subject to yearly cost of living increases thereafter. I believe that would be enough of an adjustment to solve the cost of living issue without the special per diem that is about to take effect.
The Federal Judiciary solved their pay issue forever in 2012 and 2013, not only mandating cost of living raises every year, but extracting all cost of living raises denied by Congress since 1989. Congress doesn’t have the Constitution to rely on, as the Judiciary did.
Somebody mentioned building housing specifically for Congress, a good idea.
There is a suitable vacant area located on the south bank of the Anacostia River, just north and east of the Joint Base.
We don’t need to build sufficient housing for all 535 Members, 5 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner.
Several hundred are wealthy enough to afford their own second residence without help. And, of course, the Delegate from DC lives in the District so she does not need help. And a handful of Representatives from Virginia and Maryland live in commuting range of the District, so they don’t need help.
I think 200 units would be sufficient and would be built as single person efficiency apartments. Members who choose to live in the units would be housed free of charge and would receive free breakfasts and free dinners on days that their House was actually in session. However, they could occupy the unit free of charge even when their House is not in session. On days their House is not in session, they would have to obtain their own meals.
The site I have in mind is convenient to the Anacostia Metro Subway Station. Members would be entitled to free travel on the subway between Anacostia and either Federal Center or Capitol South only, and only on days their House was in session. On all other days, and for travel to any other stop, they would have to pay the normal fare.
The free lodging, meals and travel would be deemed an expense account and not taxed.
No don’t build housing for Congress critters. I said there are a lot of military bases in the D.C. area.
Allow them to book rooms in the BEQ/BOQ and allow their congressional ID access to the chow hall where they can pay the Officer COMRATS rate. They could also use base facilities such as movie theaters and the gym.
No need to construct crystal palace for the elite.
Both Joint Bases, Anacostia-Bolling and Andrews, have privatized housing arrangements. What little on base housing exist is essentially barracks for low ranking enlisted. I see no reason or utility in potentially bumping military personnel out of the privatized housing area.
A 200 unit efficiency apartment building would be a trivial expense to construct and even with limited food service, would easily cost less than the proposed continuing reimbursement over the long term.
What I propose is hardly a crystal palace. These would be efficiencies, similar to what Joe Sixpack living in the District of Columbia might occupy.