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H.R. 9417 (117th): To amend the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 to tie the salaries of Members of Congress to the salaries of the judiciary.

A Congress member’s salary would be the same as a judge, but not as much as the $40 million annual salary of Aaron Judge.


Most members of Congress are paid $174,000 per year. A few top party leaders get paid more, including the Speaker of the House at $223,500, plus the House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders at $193,400.

Congress is supposed to receive an automatic cost of living adjustment every year, indexed to inflation. However, all of the above salaries were last updated in 2009, since Congress has voted down its scheduled pay raise every year from 2010 and on.

Many members desire the positive optics of voting down a pay raise for themselves, especially as they face the voters and re-election. So leave it to a retiring representative, with only a few weeks left in his tenure, to propose an alternative way for increasing congressional salaries.

What the bill does

While congressional pay has remained stagnant for 13 years and counting, federal judges have received pay increases for most years during that period. (Although, after 2009, there was a five-year gap until 2014 before their salaries were raised again.)

Currently, federal district court judges make $223,400 per year, circuit judges $236,900, Supreme Court associate justices $274,200, and the Supreme Court’s chief justice earns $286,700.

A new bill would tie congressional salaries to federal judicial salaries. Specifically:

  • Rank-and-file members of Congress would earn either $223,400 or the same pay as a district court judge, whichever is greater.
  • The House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders, plus the (largely symbolic position) President pro tempore of the Senate, would earn either $236,900 or the same pay as an appeals court judge, whichever is greater.
  • The Speaker of the House would earn either $274,200 or the same pay as a Supreme Court associate justice, whichever is greater.

It was introduced in the House on December 2 as H.R. 9417, by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO7).

What supporters and opponents say

Rep. Perlmutter’s office has not issued a press release about the bill, as is typical for most legislation. Plus his office did not return a request for comment from Fox News about the bill, either.

The legislation’s supporters may argue that increasing congressional pay would attract higher-quality candidates to run for office in the first place. They also argue it would keep members in their jobs longer, rather than incentivize them to leave Congress for the higher-paid “revolving door” of a lobbying job, thus decreasing the influence of special interests.

Opponents may counter that congressional pay is already decently high, as more than 80% of Americans earn less than the congressional salary of $174,000 per year. Opponents also say that Congress doesn’t deserve a pay raise when its current job approval is only 22%.

Odds of passage

The bill has not yet attracted any cosponsors. It awaits a potential vote in either the House Administration or Oversight and Reform Committee.

Last updated Dec 21, 2022. View all GovTrack summaries.

No summary available.