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By Phil Piemonte

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At last—a salary cut you can love

If you have never heard of Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, of the state of Washington, that’s OK, because she’s brand-new to Congress and has only just introduced her first bill.

The measure, if it is passed into law, would please a lot of folks who have posted comments on this blog regarding the salaries of members of Congress. Reason: Herrera Beutler’s bill calls for a 10 percent cut in the salaries of members of Congress, as well as those of the president and vice president.

Since members make $174,000 a year, that would be a $17,400 cut. Not peanuts, but if the Center for Responsive Politics is right, it won’t put much of a dent in most lawmakers’ lifestyle, either.

Members of Congress tend to be pretty well to do. CRP says the incoming class of freshmen is no exception. The group figures that the median estimated wealth of Senate freshmen is $3.96 million, and of House freshmen, $570,418.

Of course, those are medians. Among members of Congress as a whole, there are wide swings, from a handful of lawmakers who look like church mice to members whose wealth is in the hundreds of millions. And the wealth is non-partisan—plenty of rich folks on each side.

Depending on how curious you are, you can take a look at a spreadsheet that the group has put online to find out how much your very own member of Congress is worth. The group pulled numbers from the annual personal financial disclosure reports that members are required to file.

Happy digging.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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