Senate panel OKs pay freeze for Congress
WASHINGTON — A Senate panel voted on Thursday to follow the House and deny lawmakers the cost-of-living pay raise they would otherwise automatically receive in January.
The move by the Appropriations Committee would freeze congressional salaries at $174,000 a year and is attached to legislation to fund Congress' budget, which passed the panel by voice vote. Lawmakers haven't received a pay hike since January 2009.
Bipartisan reforms enacted in 1989 gave lawmakers a big pay increase in exchange for dropping the much-criticized practice of accepting money from outside interest groups for speeches.
That legislation awarded lawmakers annual cost-of-living pay increases, but lawmakers have often opted to deny themselves the pay hikes.
The House passed the pay freeze last month.
Congress accepted the annual COLA for some years in the 1990s and for most of the 2000s but has voted to deny itself the raise for five consecutive years.
The scheduled 1.6 percent hike would have given lawmakers a raise of about $2,800 in January.