Most members of Congress make $174,000 a year, but Rep. Jim Moran says that's not enough.
"I think the American people should know the members of Congress are underpaid," Moran, D-Va., told CQ Roll Call. "I understand that it's widely felt they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world."
Moran says the congressional salary isn't enough for some lawmakers, who have to pay for housing in Washington and in their home districts. He notes there are members who sleep in their offices, rent "little" apartments or rooms from others on Capitol Hill or share housing with their colleagues while they go about their business in Washington.
The congressman, who will retire at the end of this term, plans to introduce an amendment to the spending bill that funds the legislative branch that would give lawmakers a per diem. Several states pay their legislators a per diem to cover such costs as housing, travel and meals – some are set to a percentage based on a federal rate, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.
Moran's idea may be popular with some lawmakers, but the public is unlikely to have much sympathy. The approval rating for Congress was at 15% in a Gallup Poll taken in March, which is an improvement considering the 9% job approval rating measured in November after the federal government shutdown.