After the November 2020 election, Americans have been curious about the salaries of our elected officials. So, how much does a congress member make?
On November 3, 2020, elections were held to elect 435 congressional districts across the 50 United States of America. The elected officials will serve as part of the 117th United States Congress, which starts on January 3, 2021 and is composed of both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Among those elected was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York’s 14th congressional district and was re-elected after she was first elected in 2018, beating the then-incumbent congressman in the primary.
Since AOC was elected, more and more Americans have become interested in the power of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as how much these representatives make. We know what the President’s salary is, as well as the Vice President and the First Lady, but how much does a congress member make? Read on to find out.
How much does a congress member make?
Senators and House of Representative members receive the same salary: $174,000, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. That number is $50,000 less than what the Vice President makes, which is $230,700. (The president, on the other hand, receives a $400,000 salary.)
However, there are exceptions to some congressional salaries. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Speaker of the House receives $223,500, while the President pro tempore of the Senate, as well as majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate receive a salary of $193,400. These salaries also haven’t changed since 2009. Like the President of the United States, congressional salaries have changed a lot since the first United States election was held in 1789. (For comparison, George Washington made $25,000 per year as president, which equals to about $600,000 today after factoring in inflation.) Congress members, on the other hand, received a $50 per annum sum in 1989. Now congress members’ salaries are in the six figures.
The last time the congressional salary was changed was in 2009, when it was raised from $169,300 to $174,000. Since 2010, the congress has voted not to increase the salary, which is why it’s stayed unchanged for more than a decade.
Like the President and Vice President, there are also a lot of perks to being a congress member. According to Business Insider, the Federal Employees Retirement Program provides individual pension plans to members of congress. The site also reports that if a congress member dies while in office, their families will receive a payout of $174,000 or a year’s salary. BI also reports that each congress member receives an allowance of $944,671 called the “Members’ Representational Allowance,” which can be used for official expenses, such as personnel, official mailings and office furnishings. Other perks include access to the Senate Hair Care Services, and on-site Capitol amenities, such as the House and Senate dining rooms and gym.