For lawmakers who have battled to maintain a domicile both within their district and in Washington, the ability for House members to request payment for accommodation, food, and incidental expenses this year is a significant shift.
New Guidelines for House Members
Under the confidentiality agreement, because the guidelines are still being worked up, a member and three senior congressional staffers verified the change.
The move was announced to members and employees on Tuesday in an email that Bloomberg Government was able to access.
Members are only eligible for compensation when they are in Washington on business; they are only eligible up to a daily maximum set by the General Services Administration.
The money will come out of the Member’s Representational Allowance account, which is used to pay for business expenditures. The notion was put out by the bicameral House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
Although the typical member’s salary of $174,000 is significantly more than that of the ordinary American, the panel pointed out in its official report that despite this, they still had to pay for two homes.
House members can get reimbursed for lodging, meals and incidentals when they're in Washington this year, a big change for lawmakers trying to live in their home districts and DC https://t.co/WPEatiepVm
— Bloomberg (@business) January 11, 2023
The committee noted in its report that members do not get a per diem or compensation for their out-of-pocket living costs when they are working in Washington, contrasting their colleagues in the executive branch and the private industry.
Since 2009, members have not received a wage raise; they frequently vote to prevent otherwise mandatory cost-of-living adjustments, such as the fiscal 2023 omnibus appropriations agreement.
New members’ difficulties finding homes have been discussed. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Florida congressman, posted about his December encounters on Twitter.
He claimed he recently applied for an apartment in DC and disclosed that his credit was poor. He was told it wouldn’t be a problem.
He was declined, did not get the apartment, and even lost his application fee. He explained all of this in a tweet on the 8th of December and added that this isn’t meant for people who are struggling financially.
Later, he added that he is aware he is coming from a perspective of luxury since, thanks to his new pay, in two years’ time his salary will have improved his credit score drastically.
Here we go with expense funds for congressmen. Spending our money is so easy. https://t.co/mjbcochbeB
— AmericaFirst (@America54657023) January 12, 2023
The compensation policy was approved by the House Administration Committee in late December, with no members of the panel voting against it.
Based on the tweets of American citizens, they are not too happy about this new arrangement, even if it is technically fair. Many Twitter users have pointed out that business could just be conducted over Zoom.
Twitter is Very Unhappy
Many expressed their displeasure over the fact that House members are getting a significant pay raise and are now set to get reimbursements on top of that.