For the first time in history, most members of Congress are now members of the millionaires club.
With the economy still the most important issue in American politics, each member of Congress has a very important job to do. Whether it's deciding to extend unemployment benefits, raise the minimum wage or cut the food stamp program, the very lives of millions of low and middle income Americans rely on the vote of their elected officials. While Congress has the lives of millions in the palm of their hands, it looks like they have millions of dollars clenched in their fists as well.
According to a new study done by the Center for Responsive Politics, the average net worth for members of Congress in 2012 was $1,008,767. The number is up for the previous year where the average was "only" $966,000. At the top of the list was Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) who holds a net worth of $464 million. Rep. Mark Warner (D-Va) followed Issa with a net worth of $257 million. Other prominent names in the top 10 include Republican Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) who holds an average net worth of $143 million and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) whose net worth if just under $88 million.
Breaking down the numbers further, congressional Democrats had the edge, a median net worth of $1.04 million, over congressional Republicans who hold a median net worth of almost $1 million. Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, saw an increase from the previous year when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively. Over in the Senate, Republicans hold the advantage over their colleagues across the aisle. Senate Republicans reported an average net worth of $2.9 million compared to the $1.7 million reported by the Democrats.
The report and results presented by the Center for Responsive Politics shouldn't come as a surprise, but next time you head into the voting booth, just remember that the politician who is so easy to cut programs for the poor doesn't have to deal with those issues themselves.