No, Congress did not give itself a pay raise this year
CLAIM: Members of Congress gave themselves more than $40,000 in pay raises this year while only giving Americans $1,200 checks and voting to give just $600 more.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Congress did not give itself a pay raise this year.
THE FACTS: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump in late March awarded $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans.
As news spread this week that Congress had passed a $900 billion year-end COVID relief package that would give $600 direct payments to those earning up to $75,000, a popular post on Facebook falsely claimed members of Congress had given themselves massive pay raises of more than $40,000.
“They gave you $1200… six months later they’ll give you $600...in the same year they gave themselves $40k + pay raises,” reads the widely shared post. It concludes: “Are you pissed off yet? You should be.”
Evan Hollander, a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee, confirmed to The Associated Press that congressional salaries did not go up this year.
“In fact, the legislation just passed specifically blocks the COLA that would otherwise have taken effect,” Hollander said, referring to an automatic “cost of living adjustment,” in pay. Members of Congress have not received that adjustment since 2009.
President Donald Trump has threatened to not sign the bipartisan COVID relief bill unless the stimulus payments are increased from $600 to $2,000.
Most senators and members of the U.S. House earn an annual salary of $174,000. The speaker of the House earns $223,500, and the president pro tempore of the Senate and the majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate earn $193,400.
The false claim that Congress gave itself a raise has circulated online since March, when Congress passed the CARES Act.
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