Congress makes $174k a year but they want more money. An activist claimed that Elizabeth Warren voted to raise her own pay and liberal fact checkers jumped right on it to debunk it. In the process, they showed that they couldn’t quite debunk it all the way. Warren didn’t raise her own salary, they insist. Only the House got the $25 million for “salaries and expenses” but it still isn’t a “raise.” That would be illegal. Everyone gets new computers, free daycare and free lunch vouchers. All of that is perfectly alright, even though they would have used their legitimate salaries to pay for those things.
They get more money but don’t call it a raise
Conservative activist Kaitlin Bennett kicked over a hornet’s nest with a Facebook post. Responding to a Twitter comment by Elizabeth Warren about billionaires getting even richer off the pandemic, Bennett used a question in the form of an answer to make a political point. Progressive heads instantly exploded and they called in the fact-checkers. “Didn’t you literally just vote to give yourself a raise? Why don’t you donate your salary to someone who needs it more?”
No, the liberals hedge, the money isn’t really “salary” no matter what they call it in the bill. Warren did not “literally” vote to give herself “a raise.” They did it sneakily, in a back-room deal sort of way. Senator Elizabeth Warren is an expert at setting up slush funds. Her Consumer Finance Protection Bureau made Al Capone look like a boy scout, but Senators didn’t get a cent, only House Members. They admit that the entry has the heading “salaries and expenses” but they swear up and down it’s all about the expenses.
USA Today rushed to the aid of the Massachusetts Senator, reporting that the only thing that could fit would be the CARES ACT, otherwise known as the coronavirus stimulus package. It already passed both chambers and was signed into law. In it they allocated $25 million to House members for “Salaries and Expenses.”
Fast footwork to justify the funding
The way they get around calling it a raise is by resorting to fancy verbal footwork, agreeing to allocate the money “in accordance with a spend plan submitted to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives by the Chief Administrative Officer and approved by such Committee.” Of course. Well, all right then.
A communications director for that committee explains, “the $25 million funding is to support the House’s capability to telework, including for the purchase of equipment and improvements to the network.” In other words, new computers, software, and networking tools. “The money will also reimburse the staff of the House Child Care Center and pay the contracts for House food services.” Yet they continue to insist, “None of the funds will go to member salaries, which are paid directly from the Treasury pursuant to the Constitution.”
Republican Rodney Davis got a little tongue tied trying to explain to his constituents how “the $25 million provided for House operations would be spent, emphasizing that money allotted for ‘salaries and expenses’ was not meant for members’ salaries.” He swears “the funds will go to helping congressional operations adapt to the necessities and demands of the coronavirus pandemic.” With a better, faster computer. “Specifically, it will be used to help purchase IT equipment and services, including expanded customer service and video town hall capabilities.” Ordinary Americans suggest that anyone who makes $174,000 a year can afford to spend the money for their own computer.