The perks of being in Congress

  • 28 November 2017
  • NormanL
The perks of being in Congress

As Congress gets its turn in the pilory, with allegations of sexual harassment, crude behavior, and assorted ugliness tearing through the marble halls and wooden egos of the political class, it's worth recalling that members of the congressional club have a pretty good gig. Need proof? Just check out some of the perks they get for representing you in DC:

Members get annual allowances (averaging $1.27 million in the House and $3.3 million in the Senate) to staff and manage their offices almost entirely as they see fit, as well as for travel and other expenses.

The House has averaged 138 legislative days each year since 2001, and the Senate 162. The job requires long days, and members are often active in their districts when not in session, but how many jobs give their employees over 6 months to plan and schedule entirely as they see fit?

While members of Congress are required to purchase insurance via an Affordable Care Act exchange, they receive a federal subsidy amounting to 72% of their premiums, per Snopes. (Democrats say it's a stand-in for the employer contribution most workers get.) They're also potentially eligible for lifetime health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program upon retirement.

Depending on age and length of service, members can receive a lifelong pension of 80% — which, given today's congressional salary of $174,000, equals out to $139,200 in annual taxpayer-funded retirement benefits, per Investopedia.

Upon the death of a member of Congress in office, their family will receive a payout equal to a year's salary ($174,000), per Congressional Institute. The one-time death gratuity for families of military personnel killed in action is $100,000.

Members of Congress have access to free, reserved parking spots at DC-area airports, a dedicated congressional call desk with major airlines and the ability to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the flight boarded.

Our nation's legislators get a slew of lifetime benefits even after leaving office, including a taxpayer-funded gym at the Capitol, access to the House and Senate floors, parking in House lots, and the ability to dine in the House and Senate dining rooms, per The Washington Post.

In short: it's good to be part of the club. And most of them will fight tooth and nail to stay in that club for as long as humanly possible.

Just don't expect a thank you note to taxpayers for footing the bills for all those perks.