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Members of Congress are underpaid says retiring Virginia Democrat

Official Photo of Congressman Moran
Photo Courtesy of Office of Jim Moran

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) says that Congress needs a pay raise in order to live decently in the Washington, DC area according to a report dated April 4. It is not surprising that the Congressman is not running for re-election as his belief about being underpaid may not be well received by many in his district.

The current pay for a Member of Congress is $174,000.

In 2012, the average federal employee salary was $78,467 according to the Office of Personnel Management. Last month, Congressman Moran, along with Gerry Connolly (D-VA) introduced legislation to raise the pay for federal workers by 3.3%. Moran’s proposed pay raise of 3.3% would bring that average salary to $81,056.41 or about 114.6% less than what the average member of Congress makes. (A searchable database of federal employee salaries is available from

“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran told CQ Roll Call. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

The $174,000 salary does not take into account Congressional perks that include a generous retirement system in which a Member of Congress becomes vested after five years of service.

Moran represents the sixth-wealthiest district in the United States. Nevertheless, he earns more than three times average per-capita income within his district and about five times more than average per-capita income in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

While Moran acknowledges that many Americans think Congress is not performing well at existing salary levels is an understatement. A Gallup poll has congressional approval ratings at about 13%.

There is no shortage of candidates seeking the underpaid Congressional job that Moran is vacating. About a dozen Democrats are running for his job in the liberal Congressional district.

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