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They just don't have the votes.
House Democrats are again delaying plans to move forward on a spending proposal to increase Congress' pay for the first time in a decade, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters on Tuesday.
At a weekly press briefing, Hoyer explained that there wasn't enough support among House members to move forward with the "Cost of Living Adjustment" (COLA) proposal this week, saying that "we don't have the votes."
At the Tuesday briefing, Hoyer also cited a lack of GOP support as a reason for not moving forward. Hoyer also echoed concerns already voiced by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about serving in Congress only becoming a possibility for the wealthy if pay doesn't increase at some point.
The original pay hike proposal was included in a spending bill appropriating the budget for the Legislative Branch and was initially tabled after public pushback. That bill will not be brought for a vote this week, either, Hoyer explained at the briefing; however, he also explained that he is still trying to reach a deal with GOP leadership on the matter.
Politico reported Monday night that efforts to advance COLA on a bipartisan basis appeared to be in trouble due to a lack of Republican votes in favor of the proposal.
One of the most vocal proponents of a congressional pay increase has been far-left freshman House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who claims that a cost-of-living-driven pay increase to Congress' $174,000 salary is necessary to keep lawmakers from turning to lobbying or other means of cashing in on their service after they leave.
However, voters just don't see eye-to-eye with her or the other pay increase proponents on this issue. According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll released earlier this month, almost three-quarters of registered voters — 72 percent — are against the idea of increasing Congressional salaries to some extent. A mere 14 percent of respondents supported the idea.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Senate wouldn't be working on the issue, but Hoyer nevertheless persisted, calling the idea "the right thing to do to ensure that the Congress reflects all of America — not just the wealthy."
Other members of Congress have been far less enthused with the idea.
"Instead of writing a budget or reforming our bankrupt entitlement programs, House Democrats are angling for a pay raise," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said when the idea was first reported. "These jokers couldn't hold down a summer job at Dairy Queen pulling this kinda crap."
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