Faced by a public outcry, House members reversed their decision of a day earlier and voted 333 for to 68 against to lower by $7,870 a year the amount of "earned" outside income they can receive to supplement their government salaries of $75,100.
In the earlier vote, the House--by voice vote and without debate--had raised the ceiling by the same amount from $22,530 to $30,400, or from 30% to 40% of salary.
This supplemental income often comes in the form of speaking honorariums a lawmaker receives from special interests whose economic well being is linked to the lawmaker's committee work. House rules distinguish it from "unearned" income such as interest and dividends, upon which there is no limit.
Lawmakers say they need the extra earned income to offset their high costs and comparatively low pay. But critics such as Common Cause say lawmakers often are compromised by groups that provide honorariums, and that members can always quit Congress if they don't like the pay.