When members of the House guaranteed themselves a $12,100 pay raise last February, dissenters took to the floor to protest the hypocrisy of voting against the measure after it had already taken effect.
Rep. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) for example, said "all this clever manipulation . . . does not fool the American people. They know when they are being taken for a ride."
Rep. John J. Rhodes III (R-Ariz.) urged his colleagues to join him in cosponsoring legislation to repeal the 16 percent increase "so that we might be able to restore some dignity to the role of the House."
Not to be outdone, Rep. Earl Hutto (D-Fla.) pointed out that during his eight years in Congress he had voted against congressional pay increases every time but one. "I believe that we should reject this," Hutto said. "The budget deficit is too great and, with other segments of our society getting smaller increases, it would be in our best interest to abide by the wishes of the majority of the American people."
Besides railing against the pay raise, what do Inhofe, Rhodes and Hutto have in common? Like most of their colleagues, they pocketed the extra cash.
Five months after the issue was on the front pages of many newspapers, the congressional pay raise has become a fact of life in Washington. Though efforts to roll back congressional salaries are still under way, the effort apears to have lost much of its steam. On June 30, a federal judge ruled against a constitutional challenge to the pay increase brought by six members of Congress and a Ralph Nader group. One of the plaintiffs, Sen. Gordon J. Humphrey (R-N.H.), has vowed to appeal the decision.
Humphrey also lost his first attempt to repeal the raise in April, when it became clear the Senate leadership had the votes to keep his amendment from being added to legislation aiding the homeless. Humphrey plans to try again, according to an aide.
Meanwhile, more than four out of five members of Congress have accepted their new $89,500 salaries, according to Laura Weiss, the coordinator of Nader's campaign to repeal the pay raise.
A survey taken by the group shows that 92 of the 535 members of the 100th Congress -- 19 senators and 73 House members -- have reported they are not taking the raise. Most of those said they are donating the money to charity, about 20 are returning it to the Treasury, and several are holding theirs in escrow pending a final resolution of the dispute.
The list of those who have declined the money encompasses members of the congressional leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Senate Minority Whip Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.), and a goodly number of freshman members, no doubt sensitive to the appearance of voting themselves higher pay so soon after arriving in Washington.
The list is bipartisan: 54 Democrats and 38 Republicans declined to accept the raise. It includes liberals and conservatives, and lawmakers from all parts of the country.
Some state delegations are more conscience-stricken than others, however. In 13 delegations -- Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and Vermont -- sentiment was unanimous: They all took the money.
By contrast, only one delegation -- North Dakota -- was unanimous in not accepting the raise. That state's three lawmakers, Sens. Quentin N. Burdick and Kent Conrad and Rep. Byron L. Dorgan, all Democrats, said they gave the raise to charity or returned it.
In the Washington area, all but two members accepted the extra pay, according to the survey. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) reported that she is donating the money to charity, and Rep. James Olin (D-Va.) said he is giving it back to the treasury.
The list of those who chose to forsake the raise -- which Weiss said may not be complete because some lawmakers' offices did not respond -- is as follows:
Alabama: Rep. Claude Harris (D)
Arizona: Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D)
California: Sen. Pete Wilson (R) and Reps. Glenn M. Anderson (D), Robert K. Dornan (R), Leon E. Panetta (D) and Ron Packard (R)
Colorado: Reps. Ben Campbell (D) and David Skaggs (D)
Delaware: Rep. Thomas R. Carper (D)
Florida: Sens. Lawton Chiles Jr. (D) and Bob Graham (D) and Reps. Charles E. Bennett (D), Michael Bilirakis (R), Connie Mack (R), Buddy MacKay (D) and Bill Nelson (D)
Georgia: Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D) and Reps. Newt Gingrich (R) and Pat Swindall (R)
Idaho: Rep. Richard H. Stallings (D)
Illinois: Reps. Jack Davis (R), Lane Evans (D) and J. Dennis Hastert (R)
Indiana: Reps. Andrew Jacobs Jr. (D), Jim Jontz (D), Philip R. Sharp (D) and Peter J. Visclosky (D)
Kansas: Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R) and Reps. Jan Meyers (R) and Jim Slattery (D)
Louisiana: Reps. Richard H. Baker (R), Clyde C. Holloway (R), Buddy Roemer (D) and Billy Tauzin (D)
Maryland: Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D)
Michigan: Reps. Howard E. Wolpe (D) and Fred Upton (R)
Minnesota: Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R) and Reps. Timothy J. Penny (D) and Vin Weber (R)
Mississippi: Rep. Wayne Dowdy (D)
Nebraska: Reps. Doug Bereuter (R), Hal Daub (R) and Virginia Smith (R)
Nevada: Rep. James H. Bilbray (D)
New Hampshire: Sen. Gordon J. Humphrey (R) and Reps. Judd Gregg (R) and Robert C. Smith (R)
New York: Reps. Joseph J. DioGuardi (R), Matthew F. McHugh (D) and George C. Wortley (R)
North Carolina: Rep. James McClure Clarke (D)
North Dakota: Sens. Quentin N. Burdick (D) and Kent Conrad (D) and Rep. Byron L. Dorgan (D)
Ohio: Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D), Thomas A. Luken (D) and Mary Rose Oakar (D)
Oklahoma: Sens. David L. Boren (D), Don Nickles (R) and Rep. Wes Watkins (D)
Oregon: Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D)
Pennsylvania: Reps. William F. Clinger Jr. (R), William F. Goodling (R), Paul E. Kanjorski (D), Peter H. Kostmayer (D) and W. Curtis Weldon (R)
Rhode Island: Rep. Claudine Schneider (R)
South Carolina: Rep. Elizabeth J. Patterson (D)
South Dakota: Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (D) and Rep. Timothy Johnson (D)
Tennessee: Reps. Jim Cooper (D), John J. Duncan (R) and Marilyn Lloyd (D)
Texas: Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D) and Reps. Beau Boulter (R), Larry Combest (R), Ralph M. Hall (D) and Charles W. Stenholm (D)
Utah: Reps. James V. Hansen (R), Howard C. Nielson (R) and D. Wayne Owens (D)
Virginia: Rep. James R. Olin (D)
Washington: Rep. John R. Miller (R)
West Virginia: Sens. Robert C. Byrd (D) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D) and Rep. Robert E. Wise Jr. (D)
Wisconsin: Sen. William Proxmire (D) and Reps. Jim Moody (D) and Thomas E. Petri (R)
Wyoming: Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R)