Federal rescue package doesn’t give Çongress pay raises
CLAIM: Nancy Pelosi snuck in $25 million worth of pay raises for Congress in the federal relief bill intended to help Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A proposal in the economic rescue package sets aside $25 million for the House of Representatives but “none of those funds will go to member salaries,” Evan Hollander, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday.
THE FACTS: After the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package late Wednesday night, social media users began inaccurately claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi secretly stuck in $25 million worth of congressional pay raises in the deal.
Pelosi didn’t sneak anything in.
A $25 million appropriation for “salary and expenses” in the House of Representatives was proposed in both versions of the relief package _ a GOP-backed proposal earlier in the week and the plan passed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday. The House will vote on measure, the largest economic rescue package in U.S. history, Friday.
Furthermore, that $25 million won’t be used to pump money into congressional paychecks.
It will be used to buy new equipment and make upgrades to the network so members and their staff can work remotely, explained Hollander. It will also be spent on reimbursing costs of the child care center and food service contracts for the House, as well as paying for House Sergeant-at-Arms, he added.
Another $25 million was set aside for cleaning the Capitol, which is closed to visitors, according to the bill’s summary.
Congressional pay can be raised annually based on a federal cost-of-living formula. However, Congress has voted to reject those increases since 2009, keeping their salaries frozen at $174,000 for a decade.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536