I am sure that this is old news to many of us; however I thought that maybe a reminder might be in order of the Salaries and Benefits of US Congresscritters, while they moan and begrudge us even so much as minimum wage. Keep in mind that this is not including their extras that they get from their "owners". Info is as per here
The current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.
Majority Party Leader - $193,400
Minority Party Leader - $193,400
Speaker of the House - $223,500
Majority Leader - $193,400
Minority Leader - $193,400
Some things to remember regarding this pay:
Members are free to turn down pay increase and some choose to do so.
In a complex system of calculations, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, congressional pay rates also affect the salaries for federal judges and other senior government executives.
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 1855, members of Congress received only a per diem (daily payment) of $6.00 while in session, except for a period from December 1815 to March 1817, when they received $1,500 a year. Members began receiving an annual salary in 1855, when they were paid $3,000 per year.
Now, can we REALLY be surprised that none of them understand the first thing about what real Americans are going through? If Eric Cantor wants cuts so desperately, how about he start with his own salary? I mean, seriously, these Congresscritters insist that they need these extra funds so that they can travel back and forth to their districts, as well as maintain living quarters withing Washington, DC while Congress is is session. Eric Cantor is within driving distance of his district and really does not need to maintain living quarters inside DC, since he lives so close. While GOP Congresscritters are insisting that such things as having a refrigerator and shelter and food are luxuries that the poor don't deserve, how on earth can we justify his extra salary and extra health insurance costs since he is within driving distance?
As to benefits (primarily health insurance), as per FactCheck
Members of Congress have good health insurance by any standard, but it’s not free and not reserved only for them – and it’s not government insurance. House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.
It’s not a "single-payer" system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company. As President Bush’s chief of personnel Kay Coles James said in 2003, while lecturing at the conservative Heritage Foundation, "the FEHB program is not centralized, government-run health care." It has drawn praise both from conservatives and liberals, including President Obama, who held it up as a model for his own health care proposals.
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Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.
In addition, members of Congress also qualify for some medical benefits that ordinary federal workers do not. They (but not their families) are eligible to receive limited medical services from the Office of the Attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol, after payment of an annual fee ($491in 2007). But services don’t include surgery, dental care or eyeglasses, and any prescriptions must be filled at the member’s expense.
House and Senate members (but not their families) also are eligible to receive care at military hospitals. For outpatient care, there is no charge at the Washington, D.C., area hospitals (Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center). Inpatient care is billed at rates set by the Department of Defense.