OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made another controversial move just days before Republicans take control of the U.S. House. The California Democrat has authorized raises for staffers that will allow some of them to earn more than elected members of the House.
“As you know, our hard-working, patriotic Congressional staffers are integral to the functioning of the House of Representatives: ensuring this institution can effectively carry out our legislative and constituent responsibilities,” Pelosi said. “To that end, we must do all we can to retain and recruit the best talent in our nation — and to build a Congressional workforce that reflects the communities we are honored to serve.”
She added in a “Dear Colleague” letter: “It is my privilege as Speaker to announce that the House will raise the maximum annual rate of pay for staff to $212,100. This increase in the Speaker’s Pay Order is consistent with the recent raise in the Executive Branch Level II and Senior Executive Branch maximum annual salary rate.”
“As Speaker, it has been a key priority for me to bring the brightest minds and a diversity of backgrounds here to Capitol Hill — at every level of public service,” the letter continued, adding:
That is why we have:
–raised the maximum annual pay twice: ensuring parity among employees of the House, employees of the Senate and employees of the Executive Branch;
–set a first-ever minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000: a fairer, more competitive salary that has helped open the doors of public service to those who may not have been able to afford to do so before;
–delivered a 21 percent increase in the MRA in the FY22 omnibus: ensuring every office has the resources to fairly compensate staff;
–and established the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion: helping make the House more inclusive, open and representative of the full range of voices and values of our communities.
NEW: Pelosi boosts max staff pay to $212k/year.
That's a lot more than members make, and part of a longstanding push to help retain Hill staff. pic.twitter.com/t0sB7APu2n
— Chris Cioffi (@ReporterCioffi) December 30, 2022
Last week, former House Democrat and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard blistered Pelosi amid public concerns regarding Paul Pelosi’s stock trading.
“What we’re seeing here is the same thing that I saw when I was in Congress — is this blatant corruption being exposed in broad daylight — the system is rigged. We have people in positions of power to pass legislation, to enact new policies. They can see, ‘OK, here are the industries or companies that will benefit from this. I’m going to go and make these investments, buy this stock or that stock, or have my husband or wife do it and then make money in the process,’” Gabbard said on the popular Fox News program “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
“I think it’s important also to look at this, especially in the environment that we’re in right now. What is even more dangerous than what we’re seeing here is that we have members of Congress who are investing in companies or industries that will benefit from a new Cold War or conflict, for example. And these are the very same people who are making the policies, who have a vested interest in stoking those tensions and amping up this new Cold War, directly benefiting from it, and simultaneously undermining our actual national security for our country and the interests of the American people,” Gabbard added.
Pelosi has denied allegations of insider trading.
However, Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy slammed Democrats last month for claiming they support a bill aimed at preventing lawmakers from insider trading.
In a letter sent to Pelosi, the Texas Republican slammed Democrats for not moving with any urgency to at least hold a vote on the STOCK Act.
Roy noted that he worked with Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger on the bill that would prevent lawmakers and members of their families from trading individual stocks.
“As you are aware, the House floor schedule this week contains the ‘Possible Consideration of Legislation Related to the STOCK Act.’ I am glad to see the House finally taking up the idea of reforming policies related to Member stock trading. However, as one of the original sponsors of reform language — notably introducing HR336, the TRUST in Congress Act, some 2 years ago with my Democrat colleague from Virginia, Abigail Spanberger — I was interested to see the ‘final’ language via Jake Sherman’s Twitter account last night,” Roy wrote.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who will likely become the next Speaker, said there will be an investigation into the Pelosis stock trading.