Sens. Mikulski, Byrd voted for pay raise

November 09, 1997


Staff Writer

Two Tri-State area senators played a key role in giving pay raises to themselves and other members of Congress recently.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Robert C. Byrd, both Democrats, were two of three senators who voted for the $3,073 cost-of-living raises in conference committee on Sept. 29, according to Roll Call Report Syndicate.

Although the vote ended in a 3-3 tie, it was crucial because it avoided a vote before the entire senate.

The House of Representatives had already passed the pay hike as part of a bill that gave raises to all federal employees.

Later, a vote to block the pay raise for Congress only fell short despite the support of local Reps. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Bob Wise, D-W.Va.


Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., voted against blocking the raise. However, in the past he has consistently voted in favor of holding congressional pay.

On Jan. 1, the annual salary of Congress members will go to $136,673. In 1980, it was about $60,663 a year.

Bartlett will donate is raise to charity, since he opposed it, said spokeswoman Sallie Taylor.

All three votes he has made on the issue since he's been elected have been against pay raises.

"He's been pretty consistent," Taylor said.

Wise has voted to hold congressional pay five out of five times.

Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., supported the raise because it provided the first cost-of-living adjustment in five years, said his spokeswoman Kassy Kelley.

"While it's not so much an issue for him, he understands how expensive it is to maintain a home in Washington and their home district," she said.

Spokespeople for Sens. Mikulski and Byrd were contacted for this story, but did not respond.

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