House Amendment Could Increase Staff Pay

But freeze on member pay remains in place

Rep. Sam Farr's amendment would increase the pay of congressional staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that could mean raises for some House staff.  

Appropriators adopted by voice vote a proposal from Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., that would provide an additional $8.3 million for the Members Representational Allowance account, a 1.5 percent increase that would come out of the Architect of the Capital Construction and Operations Fund.  

MRAs  fund official office expenses including staff, mail and travel between a member's district or state and Washington, DC.  

That would amount to $18,821 additional per office. Lawmakers backed the proposal and lamented the constant turnover of personnel leaving for better paying opportunities.  

Related: Overtime Pay Not Likely for Congressional Staff The amendment was part of a $3.5 billion spending bill for the legislative branch for the 2017 fiscal year that includes $1.2 billion for House operations.   

"It is essential that Congress provide the resources needed to keep it functioning, safe, and accessible to all those who work or visit here, and maintain its image as a beacon of freedom around the world," said Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky.   

Increasing pay for staff has been seen as a way to curb the power of special interests and restore strength to the legislative branch.  

Related: Hill Staff Making Less Money, Reports Show A report in 2014 showed that almost every staff position in almost every staff was making less in real dollars .  

However, the spending package would prevent a pay increase for members of Congress for the fiscal year, continuing the trend of freezing congressional pay that has been in place since 2010.  

Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.