In the polar-opposites world of the U.S. Congress, there aren’t many 402-15 votes. But when it comes to congressional pay raises amid hard times in the hinterlands, the majority of Democrats and all Republicans were more than ready to say thanks but no thanks.
But there were 15 holdouts Tuesday, including Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Voting on a measure to cancel automatic pay raises (a uniquely Washington innovation), they voted no. All were Democrats, and the majority of those were, like Ellison, members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Caucus spokesman J. Jioni Palmer said “there was no caucus position.” He referred media inquiries to the offices of the 15 House members who held out for what would have been a $1,600-a-year raise. At this writing, Hotdish has not heard back from Ellison’s office.
A unanimous Senate passed a similar measure last week without a roll call vote.
Most senators and House members make about $174,000 a year, though leaders make much more. The last time Congress opted to take the raise was in 2008.


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