- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2019

Congress won’t be getting a pay raise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday, shooting down a bipartisan push for a cost-of-living adjustment.

“We’re not doing a COLA adjustment in the Senate,” the Kentucky Republican told Bloomberg News.

That likely dooms the effort by Republican and Democratic leaders in the House, who’d been trying to strike a deal on a 2.6% increase — which would work out to a $4,500 bump — this year.

Most lawmakers make $174,000 a year. That rate has not increased in a decade.

House leadership, however, still intends to include the COLA on their end.



Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told Politico he plans to move ahead with a legislative branch spending bill that would allow the adjustment to go into effect next week.

“There’s no language blocking it,” the Maryland Democrat told the newspaper.

Across the aisle, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said his support for the cost of living adjustment hasn’t changed despite Mr. McConnell’s opposition.

“My position on this is the same. I do not believe Congress should only be a place for millionaires,” the California Republican told reporters. “Seeing what Leader McConnell has said and his opposition, it does complicate the path for this to become law.”

House Democratic leadership pulled the legislative branch portion of their spending bill last week just before it was going to be considered by the rules committee, after the National Republican Campaign Committee targeted frontline Democrats over the pay boost.

A bipartisan coalition of rank and file lawmakers that pushed an amendment to block COLA funds vowed to continue their fight against the adjustment.

“This Congress has had six months since it convened in January to address these issues but has not. Members from both parties are to blame. And yet, members from both parties seem to think they have earned a pay raise,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the amendment’s sponsor, said last week.

“I look forward to meeting House leadership at the negotiating table to ensure the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill doesn’t include any pay increase for myself or any of my colleagues,” the Pennsylvania Republican added.

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