WASHINGTON — The Senate gave final congressional approval Friday to a $23,200 pay raise for itself. President Bush was expected to sign the measure.
The increase was approved on a voice vote as part of a $2.3-billion spending bill for the legislative branch of government. The House approved the bill on Wednesday.
Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-Ga.), Brock Adams (D-Wash.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked to be recorded as voting "no" on the bill. All are up for reelection next year.
Freshman Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) did not vote against the bill but said before the vote that he still opposes the raise "because there is too much disparity already in the incomes of those elected to come to Washington and those who elect them."
The raise will close the gap between the $101,900 that senators have been making and the $125,100 paid to House members since last January.
The final vote occurred two weeks after the Senate inserted the pay raise into the bill by a 53-45 vote. In exchange for the raise, senators agreed to end the practice of pocketing up to $2,000 a speech for appearing before interest groups.
At House insistence, senators would also stop taking stipends for radio talk show appearances and similar work that trades on their government positions.
Interest groups could still pay senators honorariums for speeches, but only up to $1,000 for each one, and all the proceeds would have to go to charity. Senators could no longer claim an income tax deduction for such charitable donations.
While tightening rules on outside income, the bill would virtually end public disclosure of gifts given to House and Senate members by lobbyists and others.