Payday: Congressional crime wave edition

The Democrat-led House has been notoriously do-nothing about anything other than attempting to impeach President Trump.  No budget, no promised infrastructure bills, no health care reforms, not even an explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, and shamed by socialist-led Mexico for doing zero about a massive migrant surge pouring over our southern border.  Actually, on that front, less than zero, given that they passed a bill to incentivize additional illegal immigration.  A real bright bunch, and quite likely to be thrown out come 2020, given such a record reflected in their 20% approval rating.

But there's one exception, one little exception, one dear little exception to them, and they haven't been idle: they attempted to raise their own pay with an extra $4,500 per pocket, using all kinds of sneaky justifications and dodges to keep those personal bottom lines padded.  As you may imagine, it didn't go over well:

The House was set to vote on a spending package that did not include language to block an annual cost-of-living adjustment as laid out by a 1989 ethics law.  Members are poised to receive a $4,500, or 2.6 percent, raise starting in January 2020 unless they move to prevent it as they have over the last decade.

Rank-and-file members of Congress currently earn $174,000 per year.  Members of leadership earn more, with the Speaker making $223,500 annually and the House majority and minority leaders earning $193,400.

The Congressional Research Service estimated that if members of Congress had received annual cost-of-living increases, the 2019 salary would be $210,900.

The bill was yanked, but only after word got out about it.  Vulnerable Democratic moderates said their seats were endangered.  Rest assured: they will try again.

A look at how hard they tried to justify the pay hike is an exercise in amazement.  Start with this one cited by CBS:

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are taking steps to allow a 2.6% or $4,500 pay increase for members of Congress.

But many argue it's not a raise. Rather, they're lifting a pay freeze that went into effect during the Great Recession and capped rank and file members' pay at $174,000.

And this:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) argues that this is not a pay raise.

"That was taken to court; the court ruled it was not a pay raise," Hoyer said Tuesday, "it was an adjustment on an annual basis for inflation."

Ah, a cost of living raise, not a raise-raise.  Maybe they ought to be asking why the cost of living is so high in the first place.

See, they enact and endorse blue-state dynamics in the capital and their own home states to drive up the cost of land, flood construction with massive permitting processes that delay construction by decades, bow to any NIMBY or environmental lawsuit to delay housing construction further, and then expand the size of government bureaucracy to the point of demand for housing exceeding supply.  Then they wonder why the cost of living is so high, and rather than move to correct that, move to shield themselves from the whole morass, voting themselves a "cost of living" raise.

Then there's the couch-sleeping argument, from Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a swing-state Democratic moderate from Virginia.  According to The Hill:

"I think there's a lot of larger conversation that we really need to be having, particularly our staff members and the issue of members sleeping on their couches (which I don't do)," Spanberger said. "I don't want it to be a distraction from really all of the good things that are going to be in the appropriations bills we're voting on this week."

Oh, that "conversation" again.  Kamala Harris, call your office.

As if someone such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would otherwise be making a salary well above $174,000 in any place but Congress and having her take this congressional salary in order to declare "I'm the boss" is a sacrifice.

And as if these people don't know ninety ways to Sunday how to get rich while in office.  Congress is loaded with millionaires who entered as thousandaires, who learned the ropes and parlayed their offices, via inside trading and other tricks into millions, as described by investigative reporter Peter Schweizer in his book Throw Them All Out.  Just ask Nancy Pelosi about that one.

Here's the doozy, though, from Hoyer again, via CBS:

"The salary that we receive is a decent salary, there's no doubt about that," said Hoyer. "But, one problem is under the law, our employees are capped."

So in other words, they really don't want that pay hike for themselves, see; they want it for their congressional staffers.  Ocasio-Cortez's boyfriend and all the others on congressional staffs, see, need two homes in blue-state regulatory environments, too. Rather than change the law to allow staff salaries to go even higher than their own, these selfless congressional members are biting the bullet and taking that pay hike, as a, you know, sacrifice, for their staffers.

 Congress at least got held to some kind of accountability as word got out along with pushback from Republicans in Congress such as Rep. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, both of whom said that Congress should actually 'earn' it first.

What makes this a blue-state phenomenon is that the same nonsense is going on unchecked in blue-state statehouses, with gargantuan raises in the works.

New York, which boasts of some of the highest paid legislators in the land to start, voted itself a $50,000 pay hike to ensure its legislators came out Numba One.

Bankrupt Illinois's legislators voted themselves a pay hike, too. They're now making $288,000 a pop.

Not seeing anything from California, but note that its legislators were absent from any call to halt the House pay hikes. No call to cap salaries from Rep. Gil Cedillo, a lottery mega-winner who ballot-harvested his seat into Congress. No calls from anyone else, based on press reporting. And you can bet that the venal Sacramento statehouse most of these people hailed from, the one that just voted to tax people who can't afford Obamacare to pay for free health care for illegal aliens, will be getting ready to hike its own statehouse pay, too. I'd bet money on it, given the body's free-spending record in the one-party state.

Democrats, in short, have a pretty impressive record of lining their own pockets, while doing nothing else in their positions of power. Should these people be thrown out come 2020? On this alone, one can only hope.

Image credit: BagoGames via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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