Sound Off: What Recession? Congress Keeps Its Raise

Members of Congress won’t be feeling the effects of the economic recession. The House and Senate have refused to freeze salaries for members, meaning Senators and Representatives will get a 2.8% pay hike next year. That amounts to about a $4,700 yearly increase. The average member of Congress makes $169,000. What do you think? Should members of Congress get a raise next year? Do they make enough? Email

Absolutely NOT!! There are good reasons why the people of this country have so little respect for our government. One of those is that there is so little integrity on the part of the average public servant. We need some serious House cleaning. Senate cleaning too! Some are trying very hard, but have little hope when they are among a pack of crooked, self-serving, ego-inflated, out-of-touch politicians. Maybe we need to redesign and redefine our leadership before they drive this country beyond any potential of a healthy functionality. We also need to speak out LOUDLY about how dysfunctional our system has gotten. Voting in our elections is the least we can do and not nearly enough these days. -Mark(Spokane Valley)

Of course they should. NOT!!! Ouf congress men and women helped get us into this mess and they should help get us out. Maybe they need to remember who they work for. It may take 2 years but we CAN start electing them OUT!! -Judy

What is the matter with these Congress people? Men and women are out of work and they don’t take a cut in pay. Something is wrong with this picture. Let’s face it. They don’t care about the average “Joe.” All they are interested in are themselves and that has been very apparent for a very long time. People are out of work and they pull this stunt. Don’t we all feel very sorry for them? They who make a six figure salary. -Yvonne(Spokane)

Congress has given itself over twenty thousand dollars in raises over thelast twelve years. The performance of Congress has not reflected deserving any of those raises. Most people in North Central Washington work all year for little more than Congress’s raises. It’s time for the government to get a reality check. They are merely regular people put into the position of speaking for the rest of us. If anything they need a huge pay cut like millions of working people are. They need to lead by example, not by ignoring the voice of the majority of United States citizens. By the way, why do we not hear from Congress the billions that illegal immigration is costing taxpayers? -Bob

No, they should not get a pay raise and all of those with felony convictions should lose all benefits the same as I, a retired military member, would. –John(Post Falls)

It would only be right that they did not get a raise. There are a lot of families that were layed off or lost their jobs over this last year, but yet Congress think that it is ok to give themselves raises. They are GREEDY people. They should forgo the raises and they should get a pay DECREASE. -Susan

My husband is in the military and he doesn’t get a raise like that and he does a lot more than they do. Highest paid idiots in the world. –Lori

Most everyone voiced my opinion. NO RAISES! I think they should take a cut like everyone else and should no longer receive their salaries for life. How about they put money into the Social Security system like the rest of us, eliminate the cap on social security income deductions, and let them live on the Social Security rate that they have earned per wages. Bet they’d look at the whole thing different then. Same goes with state government and our elected representatives. What’s good for one should be good for all. -Sue

Congress shouldn’t be giving themselves a pay raise at this time with the economy in such poor shape and when so many people are loosing their homes, jobs and businesses. This only shows that they don’t care about the American public only about how much they can take the tax payers for…just GREEDY CEO’s. -Steve(Spokane)

Pay raise you ask? In my opinion these folks are already far overpaid. Let’s make it fair. Why don’t we, the people, pay them the average wage of all the people that they represent. This would be a great incentive to actually work for the people to whom they are representing. How could such a thing be voted in without accountability? In light of the present national financial crisis, this should be punishable as a criminal act. Anyone who voted for this is a crook through and through. -William

Iv’e been laid off and still have to pay $135.00 a month for basic insurance just for myself, Do they really need a raise? Maybe they could pay some of our insurance that only pays after 9 months. The raise they get would pay my insurance for 6 months. We need the money, they don’t. –Terri(Spokane Valley)

No, they should suffer like the rest of us.  How can they say they deserve a raise, when so many tax payers whom pay their salary are out of work? –Christine

With an approval rating of “10” Congress should take a healthy pay cut instead of a pay increase!  Voting for a pay raise only emphasizes how much contempt Congress has for “We the People!” -Harold(Pullman)


If you don’t think your Representative or Senator is worth the salary and benefits provided, then say so with your vote!  If they are really working for you they are underpaid; if they are working for some special interest lobby they should be fired! -Jack(Spokane)

I think that Congress and all the systems should be taking a pay cut. Face it if the Dean of WSU makes 750 thousand a year, at a 50% cut he would still be making 375 thousand a year, that’s a lot of jobs that could be saved. -Kathy

Congress should tighten their own belts, like the rest of us have had to do. In addition, they should take a pay cut, to leave them paid around 100 k per year until they balance the budget — WITHOUT raising taxes to do it. -Jim(Thompson Falls)

Congress should not receive a raise. The people that they serve are losing jobs and experiencing pay cuts. When Congress has satisfactory results, high production, and high quality, then the voters can decide whether or not they get a raise. (Better yet, Congress should experience a pay cut.) -KD

The members of Congress make a mere fraction of that made by senior corporate executives.  A small cost of living raise is fair compensation for the time they spend representing the people of America. –Gary

You probably will not read this on the air, but–my thinking is these politicians, all of them, should for the next four years pay themselves the sum of the federal minimum wage at 40 hours a week.  This should be done after these were the people gave a seven hundred billion dollar gift, not a loan to the corrupt banking industry.  -Doug and Jeannie

I just shut the television off when I heard this story. This is such an inconsiderate thing to do give the current economic conditions facing our nation! Then again, these are the same ‘public servants’ who voted to give out billions of taxpayer dollars to companies with minimal oversight. No wonder congressional approval ratings are at a record low in all major national polls… -Shahed

Surprise, surprise. These dolts we put in office for the well being of the country is a joke. Seems as though their favorite theme song is, “It All about Me” and screw the tax payers. –Emery(Colville)

I don’t think Congress should get raises! When our Governor is proposing that my husband (corrections) and I (teacher) will neither one get a raise next year! Our raises are negotiated and voted on by the people of our state. Why doesn’t our national government let us vote on whether Congress and the Senate get raises? We are the ones paying for it, how would they like to pay our raises? There should be a cap, $150,000.00 a year is a comfortable salary for anyone. -Kim

Are you kidding me? They (congress) speak so loudly about how the masses need help. They give money to the banks without responsible reporting procedures or requirement to help the masses; yet the masses are the ones putting up the money. Congress puts strings on the “masses” when their employers beg for a helping-hand to keep America moving and surviving.  And now congress has the audacity to give themselves raises and we get to pay for that too! How many of us right now are in fear of the future, our families and our livelihoods? They are just taking that a little too lightly. If every American isn’t on the phone to their congressmen/women on Monday insisting this is not satisfactory, we deserve what we get. –Carla

There should be no raises and their salary and benefit packages need to be re-negotiated.  They should never have been allowed to vote themselves pay increases or benefit packages.  They should live on the same wage and benefit package as any other average government employee.  There is not a single person in the congress or senate that deserves to make any more than the average American makes. -Colleen

What is it that this upper echelon doesn’t get??  To make this thing get better we must all (and I specifically mean,  “all”) must sacrifice. To give Congress a pay raise is ridiculous!!  Who are they but the ones who helped get into this mess.  Does an employer give his employee a raise with this kind of record?  Duh!!! -Nancy

Dah, they should be taking a pay cut, not a pay raise, it goes to show you where the greed is! -Connie

NO…they should not get a raise!  I am on unemployment and may soon be among the homeless if I don’t find a full-time job soon so I can’t even imagine making $169,000/year plus and then selfishly accepting a raise when the economy is SO bad and so many are living on a shoestring!  This is why the country is in the bind it’s in is because so many at the top have no idea what it’s like to be without and make salaries way beyond what they really need to survive!! –Donna

I think for the members of congress to truly understand how this recession is hurting most American families they ought to take a cut down to $50,000 a year or whatever the average income is. Maybe make them live on $244 dollars a week like I have been on my unemployment check. Then maybe they would understand. -Tim

One answer might be to have the pay scale set by vote of 435 citizens chosen randomly from across the country, with each state having a number of citizens in the poll equal to that state’s number of Representatives in Congress.  The only proviso would be that each citizen must actually be a taxpayer. -Robin

Give them pay for performance.  About $100 times their IQ should do it.  That should lower the cost of keeping them to about $500 per year. -Dean(Spokane)

Hmm…that is interesting that members of congress are going to keep their raises.  I thought you received a raise as a result of excellent performance and exceeding expectations set by your employer(s)?  I wish I could smack a gavel and have $4,700 placed into my hand! -Tim

No congress shouldn’t get their raise next year. Here we are losing jobs all over the country on a daily basis, the economy has fallen apart, and they think they should get to keep their raise? Too bad they don’t get their raise based on a performance evaluation, because they’d get a pay deduction. Congress could take their raise and reinvest it into the economy, maybe make a few more jobs. They don’t need the extra money, but I know a lot of families out there that are having a tough time that would love to have it, or just a job for that matter. -Katherine(Spokane)

As usual, Congress can ask us to sacrifice but they will not.  Another strong example of their arrogance and how they actually look down on us.  They feel they can do this because there is little to no feedback from the voters.  Contact your politicians and tell them what you think.  Enough letters will get their attention! -Kurt

Are you kidding me? When thousands of people are out of jobs, why should they get even more? Don’t you think they ought to use this money to help solve this problem instead of using it for themselves? How selfish. -Jessica

With the economy the way it is, and people out of jobs, losing their homes, and starving, it appalls me to think that the house and senate refuse to take a salary freeze! My daughter is working full time trying to raise her son and making 7.00 an hour. Obviously this is not enough for her to pay her bills and keep food on the table, but she gets no child support, no money from welfare and I know she is not the only one-Congress should donate the money to help those in need and stop lining their pockets while US Citizens’ are starving, jobless, and homeless! –Bridget(Post Falls)

No! Let’s see to be in congress you get $169,000.00 plus travel, meals, medical benefits, and what other items are paid for that I can’t think of…What is the return for us the taxpayers. More taxes and laws that are useless. We the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. -Kathy (Republic)

My understanding of the original intent behind the positions on Congress was that they were intended to be a position of a public servant. As such they shouldn’t receive any compensation, however if they do receive compensation it should be at minimum wage for the time they work. -Duncan

I think that they should get that raise that they voted for.  I think that they deserve it!!!   They also deserve to pay for the $700B bailout that they voted for.  Also we need to take 15% of their wages and give it to the retirement funds we have lost because of their stupid votes.   –Roger(Lewiston)

It should embarrass every member of congress to take a pay raise. I don’t think they have ever lived in the real world. They are already over paid.   -Steve

I think we should treat them the same as CEO’s because they got use where we are now. They should not get pay raises. They should get a pay decrease until they do their job’s rite or REPLACE THEM! –Cliff(Diamond Lake)

Where’s my raise? Some members of congress should be in jail. -Lance(St. Maries)

Congress no! But why are you not asking why all those people at the shelters or at the free toy and food banks are not being asked if they would not like to earn some money by brushing off the snow from those car lots? Probably because you know that the managers of the lots are not allowed to just casually hire helpless and homeless and starving (ever see how many of those people are fat) people if they want to earn a few bucks? – Nancy(Spokane)

When we compare wages of athletes, movie stars and musicians to our members of Congress they don’t fare well.  However, when I receive my Social Security increase next month of about $38.00 a month it doesn’t begin to cover the increase in my cost of living.  I do not believe I am qualified to determine the worth of members in Congress.  I’ll just have to leave it to them! -Jim(Newman Lake)

Hell no! They already make enough money while all the middle class suffers. Maybe raise their taxes? –Desiree(Sagle)

They not only make enough now but they don’t even earn what they stuff in their pockets! We’re NOT the gravy train. What don’t they understand about ‘slow-no economy?’ -MJ

We are about to experience the “Obama Change”. The same old nepotism and cronyism. The crooks are alive and well in D.C. -Dave(Spokane)

Absolutely not. They already get $165,200 a year. Which is a good salary to live on. Plus most of them come from wealthy families or have their own wealth. They seriously do not need a raise. They are completely out of touch with the people they are supposed to be serving. –Robert(Liberty Lake)

Are you kidding me? First off, with so many barely able to afford food for their families, how can our representatives think it would be alright to continue fattening their pockets. Secondly, what have they done to prevent, or at the least soften the blow of this recession for our families? This is outrageous! –Lee Ann (Spokane)

Absolutely not.  They get enough benefits and perks already.  If the ordinary common person has to deal with the recession/depression, they should have to tighten their belts like everyone else. -Barb

Until every American family is supported, NOBODY should get a raise.  -Dana