Thursday, February 17, 2005

Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members

Salaries and Benefits of U.S. Congress Members:

wow! cost of living adjustments, starting salary 80% of highest salary.. seems like a good deal

how do i get on the US Congress Members... benefit program... seems a tad insincere all the talking heads.. discussing what's good for all the rest of us..

write your congressman. NOW... ask them to forgo their benefit program and sign up for their new envisioned Social Security plan.

• During the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin considered proposing that elected government officials not be paid for their service. Other Founding Fathers, however, decided otherwise.

• From 1789 to 1815, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1815, when they were paid $1,500 per year.

Congress: Leadership Members' Salary (108th Congress)
Leaders of the House and Senate are paid a higher salary than rank-and-file members.

Senate Leadership
Majority Leader - $175,600
Minority Leader - $175,600
House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $203,000
Majority Leader - $175,600
Minority Leader - $175,600

• A cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase takes effect annually unless Congress votes to not accept it.

Congress: Benefits
Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.

• Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching to FERS.

• As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants' contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes.

Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they've completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Member's of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.

The amount of a Congressperson's pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member's retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.


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