Congressional Pay Special Report
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  • See a table showing congressional pay trends since 1975.
  • See a graphic showing House pay in real dollars and adjusted for inflation since 1975.


    Tucked into a large appropriations bill, the 1997 congressional pay raise was hastily pushed through the House by the leadership on Sept. 17. Some House members tried to remove the raise provision from the bill on Sept. 24 but failed. And while the Senate had struck the provision from its own version of the appropriations bill, the raise became a done deal on Sept. 29 in a "House-Senate conference" that consisted of a three-minute meeting attended by a single congressman and a single senator.

    The final appropriations bill was approved by both houses soon after and signed by President Clinton on Oct. 10. It takes effect Jan. 1, 1998.

    While the raise never came to a formal up-or-down vote, there were still three roll calls that mattered.

    • The House on Sept. 24 voted 229 to 199 to defeat an attempt by Rep. Linda A. Smith (R-Wash.) to waive the raise, which was already part of an appropriations bill. See vote.

    • On Sept. 30, one day after a House-Senate conference sent the bill back to both houses with the raise provision intact, the House voted 220-207 in favor of the entire bill. See vote.

    • And on Oct. 1, the Senate went along, in a 55-45 vote. See vote.
    Results provided by the LEGI-SLATE News Service.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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