WASHINGTON — A survey released Tuesday said at least 66 members of Congress report that they will not accept the $12,100 annual pay raise that makes its first appearance in paychecks being issued today.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader released the survey showing that 12 senators and 56 House members would donate the money to charity or return it to the U.S. Treasury. However, two of the House members on the list, citing miscommunication between their staffs and the Nader group, later said they would take the increase.
"It's fitting that the first installment of this backhanded salary grab appears in congressional paychecks on April Fool's Day," Nader said. "Congress intentionally tried to fool the American taxpayer when it sidestepped the voting process to pocket this pay hike through the back door."
Although appearing to vote against the pay raise, the House in February allowed congressional salaries to rise automatically from $77,400 to $89,500 a year. The raise actually began accumulating March 1, and the first of it--an extra $1,000, approximately--appears in paychecks today.