WASHINGTON – In light of a report that shows fifty percent of U.S. congressional representatives have a net worth of at least $1m, the other half of Congress has introduced legislation that would raise their salaries to parity with their wealthier colleagues.
According to the report, Congressman Darrell Issa is back as the richest person in the legislature, worth up to $598 million, which has caused members of both parties to demand that the government institute a Congressional minimum wage of “at least a million dollars”. In 2011, Issa introduced legislation to reduce the minimum wage to $5.15.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who was listed as the second-poorest person in Congress due to legal bills stemming from bribery charges when he was a judge in the 1980s. He was acquitted, but impeached and removed from the Senate and then ran for Congress in 1992.
Hastings said that it was “wholly unfair” that fifty percent of his colleagues either entered Congress as wealthy citizens, or had used their time in Congress to enrich themselves and their families. Hastings added, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to paying my girlfriend $622,574 in government money.”
The bill is also sponsored by Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), who is listed as the fifth-poorest Congressperson, with up to $1.2m in debt. Fincher has been active in trying to end the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and is the second-largest recipient of taxpayer-funded farm subsidies in Congress. “It is not unreasonable for us to encourage the poorest among our citizenry to pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” Fincher said, “and this bill is merely doing the same thing. Bootstraps just happen to be very expensive these days.”