Fact Check: Congress Members Did NOT Receive 21% Pay Raise

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Congress Members Did NOT Receive 21% Pay Raise Just Budget

Did congressional members receive a 21% pay raise? No, that's not true: An appropriations bill that became law in March 2022 only included a provision to raise the Members' Representational Allowance (MRA) in the House of Representatives by 21%. MRAs are used for members' office budgets and do not boost members' salaries.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post (archived here) on March 13, 2022. It included a meme stating that Congress received a 21% pay raise. The caption of the post reads:

Nice to see y'all are walking in tall cotton on the taxpayer's dime while the rest of us are left trying to keep our heads above the water

This is how the post looked on Instagram on March 15, 2022:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Mar 15 18:33 2022 UTC)

HR 2471, known as the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022," does not allow for any congressional member to receive pay raises. A summary of the bill published by Republicans on the Senate Committee on Appropriations explains that the bill actually continues a member pay freeze that has been in effect since 2009.

Rather, the bill raises MRAs for members of the House of Representatives by 21%, which can only be used to cover expenses that are related to members' "official and representational duties." The sponsors of the bill have stated that MRAs can be used to increase the salaries of House staffers but such an increase would not include congressional members. A summary of the bill published by the House Committee on Appropriations states that it "provides a total of $1.715 billion in discretionary appropriations for the House of Representatives" and explains the MRA increase:

$774.4 million for the Members Representational Allowance (MRA), the basic office budgets of House Members, an increase of $134.4 million (21%) above the FY 2021 level. This is the largest increase in the MRA appropriation since its authorization in 1996.

The bill also provided the Senate with close to $1.1 billion in funding, which is an increase of $96 million compared to fiscal year 2021.

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  Lead Stories Staff

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