McConnell opposes push for lawmaker pay raise

McConnell opposes push for lawmaker pay raise
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Washington, Wall Street on edge about coronavirus Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding MORE (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he doesn't support a bipartisan effort in the House to give lawmakers a pay raise for the first time in a decade, dimming the chances of the proposal going forward.

"We’re not doing a COLA adjustment in the Senate," McConnell said in a statement, referring to a cost-of-living adjustment.

McConnell's opposition makes it all the less likely that a bipartisan deal can be reached to give lawmakers a cost-of-living adjustment for the first time in a decade.

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House GOP leaders have expressed openness to the pay raise, despite the outright opposition from their Senate counterparts.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCongress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding Warren introduces bill to redirect wall money to coronavirus MORE (R-Calif.) reiterated his support for the pay raise idea on Thursday, but acknowledged that McConnell's opposition makes the chances slim that a deal could be reached. 

"Well, my position on this is the same. I do not believe Congress should only be a pace for millionaires. Seeing what Leader McConnell has said in his opposition, it does complicate the path for this to become law. I don't want to pre-judge the outcome here for the House, but it could put in doubt that that becomes law," McCarthy said at a press conference in the Capitol. Under a decades-old law, members of Congress are set to receive annual cost-of-living adjustments unless they move to block them, as they have since 2009.

House Democratic leaders originally planned to consider a spending bill for legislative branch operations this month that would allow lawmakers to receive a $4,500 pay raise in January. But they ultimately pulled it from the House floor last week following pushback from swing-district Democrats wary of the optics.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBiden, Klobuchar to address AIPAC via video Lawmakers dedicate Oversight room to Cummings, unveil plaque Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE (D-Md.), who has been pushing to give lawmakers a cost-of-living adjustment for years, said he hopes to complete consideration of all spending bills by the end of this month.

Rank-and-file members of Congress currently make $174,000 annually. Members of leadership earn more, with the Speaker making $223,500 and the House minority and majority leaders making $193,400.

Proponents of giving lawmakers a cost-of-living adjustment argue it's necessary to raise pay caps for staff, who can't make more than their bosses.