House votes to keep lawmaker pay freeze

 

The House passed its second fiscal 2015 appropriations bill Thursday, including a measure that would maintain the freeze on lawmakers' pay that has been in place since 2010.

Passed in a 402-14 vote, the $3.3 billion legislative branch appropriations bill provides funding for House member offices, the Capitol Police, the Architect of the Capitol and the Capitol Visitor Center.

ADVERTISEMENT
It does not include funding for the Senate, except for joint operations. Senators will be able to add funding for their own programs when it reaches the chamber for a vote.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) insisted the House should have considered his amendment to provide members who live 50 or more miles outside of Washington, D.C., with a housing stipend. His amendment would give lawmakers $25 per day for each day that the House is in session. The House Rules Committee did take it up.

"If you're not going to show respect for yourself as an institution, you can't expect the public to show much respect for you either," Moran said. "We deserve that respect. We ought to stand up for ourselves."

Earlier Thursday, the House also gave voice-vote approval to an amendment offered by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) that would provide $500,000 for sexual harassment training for all member offices.

"The American people expect us to conduct ourselves befitting the responsibilities and duties we hold as members of Congress, not like we are freshmen in a frat house," Speier said.

The legislative branch appropriations bill would provide $347 million for the Capitol Police force, which would be an increase of $9.5 million from the current spending level. 

Additionally, the legislation would include $21.2 million for the Capitol dome restoration project. The Capitol Rotunda reopened to the public on Thursday morning after workers finished installing a protective covering under the dome.

The House also adopted an amendment by voice vote offered by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) that would prohibit the use of funds for delivering paper copies of disbursement statements.

Another amendment offered by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), also adopted by voice vote, would end the use of funds for paper copies of the daily House calendar.

Members noted that both documents were accessible electronically, making the printed copies unnecessary.

More in Senate

Protests erupt in Congress as UN races toward Iran vote

Read more »