Rep. Jim Moran Says Congress Is Underpaid

Most people would consider working three days a week with full benefits and pulling down $174,000 a year an adequate paycheck. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) is not one of those people.

In an interview with Roll Call, Moran declared “I think the American people should know that the members of congress are underpaid. I understand that it’s widely felt that they under perform, but the fact is this is the board of directors for the largest economy in the world. Our pay has been frozen for three years and we’re planning on freezing it a fourth year. A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington.”

Moran, 68, announced in January he would not seek re-election in 2014 and would retire after serving 12 terms.

Congress is scheduled to be in session 113 days in 2014. They worked 126 days in 2013, and only 107 in 2012.

In January The New York Times research showed that half of members of congress are millionaires for the first time in history. The median net worth for lawmakers in the House and Senate was $1,008,767. Overall, at least 268 of the 535 current members of Congress had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012.

The most wealthy member of congress is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who had a net worth between $330 million and $598 million.

Democrats and Republicans in congress are about equally wealthy. Democrats median net worth was $1.04 million compared to $1 million for Republicans.

Not only is Congress scheduled to be session only 113 days this year, they also get the entire month of August off. They also have had an entire week’s vacation during every month through March of 2014.

Having August off is actually a law. As written on “By tradition and by law, Congress recesses for the month of August. During the Senate’s early years, members attempted to adjourn in the spring, before the summer’s heat and oppressive humidity overwhelmed them and their small staff…Today, the August recess continues to be a regular feature of the Senate schedule- a chance for senators to spend time with family, meet with constituents in their home states, and catch up on summer reading.”

While announcing his retirement, Moran said “It’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge.” He has represented Virginia’s 8th district since 1991. He is known for his work on the powerful House Appropriation committee.

Members of the House and Senate generally begin their work week late Monday afternoon and are out of Washington D.C Thursday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually their only full days.

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