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Wright Sees House Rejecting 3% Pay Hike for Members of Congress

November 06, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) predicted Thursday that House members will reject a 3% pay raise for themselves and all other federal workers, the third in a year, when a spending bill reaches the floor.

Wright said that he wanted to lay to rest a "misunderstanding" that members already had voted for a raise.

Last week, the House passed a budget-balancing bill that made provision for a raise of 3% for federal workers, Cabinet officers, members of Congress and others, effective Jan. 1.

Wright said that the budget measure contained "a ceiling on the amount" of a raise for all those covered, capping it at no more than 3%, rather than the 4.2% that could have been granted under cost-of-living formulas. A long-term catchall spending bill contains money for the raise itself and is due on the House floor later this month.

Wright said that when the bill gets to the House floor, opponents will be allowed to offer an amendment to reject any raise for members, Cabinet officers, federal judges and high-level government officials, while leaving the raise for federal workers intact.

"I guess the House would probably vote to deny any such raise in these circumstances," Wright said.

Last January, under a system in which the pay of members is linked to cost-of-living increases for federal workers, members of Congress got a 3% raise, from $75,100 to $77,400.

Two months later, after parliamentary maneuvering, members got a raise to $89,500. That raise was proposed by President Reagan as the result of a study by a presidential panel that every four years reviews salary levels to see if top federal officials should get raises other than regular cost-of-living adjustments.

The current proposed increase would increase the pay of members by $2,700, to $92,200.

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