It's understandable that members of the Senate didn't applaud when the House last week voted to restrict their outside earned income to $18,200 annually, the same limit the House already has leveled on itself. At least 58 senators (two, William V. Roth Jr. of Delaware and Nicholas Brady of New Jersey didn't file reports) had outside earned income in excess of this in 1981. The most dramatic increase was in speech honoraria for Republican senators, which almost doubled last year to $1.1 million from $601,000 in 1980.

Not surprisingly, the top honoraria recipients, according to the Democratic Study Group, were the leaders of both houses, major committee chairmen, and members of the tax-writing Ways and Means and Finance committees.

Top speechifiers in the Senate: Dole of Kansas ($66,850), Jackson of Washington ($56,250), Baker of Tennessee ($54,000), Symms of Idaho ($50,700), Lugar of Indiana ($40,200), and McClure of Idaho ($39,350). Tops in total outside earned income, which include legal fees, salaries, etc., as well as honoraria, but not investment or pension income: Dole ($86,600, with $30,500 donated to charity), Lugar ($85,735 with $15,200 to charity), Boschwitz of Minnesota ($71,609, $3,000 to charity), Baker ($66,500, $13,000 to charity).

Heavy hitters in the House, where the DSG only had figures for honoraria: Rostenkowsi of Illinois ($52,600, with $38,100 to charity), Vander Jagt of Michigan ($43,635, $26,000 to charity), Kemp of New York ($40,100, $26,950 to charity), Michel of Illinois ($33,900, $13,800 to charity).