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Lawmakers give selves pay raise
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

By JIM ABRAMS
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- With little debate, House lawmakers on Tuesday included
themselves as part of a pay raise that all federal employees will receive
next year.

The cost-of-living raise would be the sixth straight for members of the
House and Senate, boosting the salaries of lawmakers, now $158,100, by about
$4,000 in the new calendar year.

The civil servant COLA is part of an $89.9 billion Transportation and
Treasury Department spending bill that the House is expected to pass.

The measure stipulates that civil servants get raises of 3.5 percent, the
same as military personnel will receive next year.

Like last year, the only House member to speak out against the automatic
raise was Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah.

The House rejected Matheson's procedural attempt to get a direct vote on the
pay raise. In 1989, Congress decided to make annual cost-of-living pay
increases automatic unless the lawmakers voted otherwise.

The pay raise also applies to the vice president, congressional leaders and
Supreme Court justices.

Vice President Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Chief Justice
William Rehnquist receive $203,000. Associate justices get $194,300 and
House and Senate party leaders get $175,700.

President Bush's salary of $400,000 is unaffected by the legislation.