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The Nation

February 05, 1989

A blue-ribbon panel recommended it. President Bush and former President Ronald Reagan gave it their blessing. But the vast majority of Americans feel members of Congress do not deserve a $45,500 pay raise, according to the Gallup Poll. Boosting congressional salaries from $89,500 to $135,000 a year, as proposed by a nonpartisan commission, is favored by 15% of the public and opposed by 82%, even when tied to a ban on speaking fees, or honorariums. Only 20% knew what congressmen are paid, while 12% believed legislators earn more than what they actually do and another 12% believed the lawmakers earned less. More than half (56%) were unable to specify any figure at all. The raise affects U.S. senators and representatives, as well as other top federal officials, judges and Cabinet members.

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