Representative Jim Moran’s efforts to get more money for his fellow congressional members is over, but not before Moran got an earful from some taxpayers.
In a brief interview with CQ Roll Call last week, the Democrat from Virginia said that, “I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid. I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”
Moran said the congressional members also should be entitled to per diem pay in addition to salaries and benefits.
On Wednesday, Roll Call did a follow-up interview with Moran. The retiring congressman said his office received several thousand calls, and Roll Call said Moran confirmed that “many of them full of expletives, and all in opposition to the proposal.”
In the end, Moran proposed a $25 a day per diem stipend for congress members who live at least 50 miles away from Capitol Hill.
Moran wouldn’t be eligible for the stipend for two reasons: he lives 10 miles away from Washington and he won’t be serving in the next session of Congress.
Currently, under the terms of the 27th Amendment, any such raise would take effect when the next Congress is called into its next session, because Congress can’t vary its compensation rate during a current session.
The House Appropriations Committee rejected Moran’s amendment during a voice vote on Wednesday.
Moran said after the vote that he wanted to point out a money gap between House members.
“I think there’s a legitimate fear that the House is going to be increasingly populated by two types of members. One will be those who come for only a couple of terms before multiplying their salary in the private sector as a result of their service, the other those who are sufficiently independently wealthy for whom our salary is a rounding error of their net worth,” he said.
He also confirmed to the AP that the phone calls to his office were rather colorful, with “almost all of them using obscene language.”
And Moran may not be alone in Congress: There were reports on Wednesday of several Aye votes coming from Democratic members of the committee during the voice vote.