WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers are pumping the brakes on plans to raise their pay by thousands of dollars.
However, supporters say it’s not off the table just yet.
“I don’t think that we should be focusing on an issue like whether our pay should increase,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia.
Spanberger is one of more than a dozen lawmakers vowing to block a $4,500 pay raise for members of Congress.
Currently, most lawmakers make $174,000 a year.
“I am putting the needs and the priorities of my constituents ahead of anything that is focused solely on me,” Spanberger said.
However, other lawmakers who support the raise argue the issue is about their staff.
By law, congressional staffers can’t get a pay raise unless lawmakers get a bump as well. That hasn’t happened in a decade.
Even though staffers often research and write the bills lawmakers propose, they only make an average of $50,000 a year while living in one of the country’s most expensive cities.
“Frankly, we have constituents across our states and country who are struggling to make ends meet,” Spanberger said.
While Spanberger and others disagree — the idea is still gaining traction.
A previous staffer for former House Speaker Paul Ryan took to Twitter to support a raise, stating low pay is having a “negative effect on Congress.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, says he will continue to strive for higher pay to attract the “best and brightest.”
Hoyer put this week’s pay raise vote on hold for him and Republican leaders to gather support.