Candidates run for Congress knowing their salary is $174,900 per year, out of which they pay living expenses in their home states and Washington, DC. Congressional compensation increases should be used to attract better candidates for Congress, not reward those who happen to win. 

On Dec. 30, 2022, while the public was focused on college football playoff and bowl games and the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the Committee on House Administration changed one sentence in a 51-page, single-spaced booklet that clandestinely upped Congressmen compensation by $39,000+, TAX FREE, which is equal to a $51,332+ (29%) salary increase for a married couple and $57,372+ (33%) for a single filer, costing taxpayers $17+ million per year.

While a reasonable debate exists about whether Congress deserves a 29%-33% compensation increase, there is no defense to the clandestine way Congressmen padded their own wallets, all at taxpayer expense.

This self-serving compensation increase was either not authorized by the House of Representatives — it received no House Floor debate — or it was buried in a massive bill without public knowledge or debate.  This is not the way to do the public’s business. 

Republicans are now in the House majority.  They should revisit this issue and require a public debate and vote on increasing Congressional compensation 29-33%.  I urge House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and all Alabama Republican Congressmen to demand a House Floor debate and then debate and vote on the merits of this extraordinarily large Congressional compensation increase.

Mo Brooks is the former U.S. House Representative for Alabama's 5th congressional district.

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