House GOP Leader: Congress Should 'Look at' Cost of Living Raises for Lawmakers

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., meets with reporters after the Democratic-controlled House approved a measure requiring federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, the first major gun control legislation considered by Congress in nearly 25 years, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. After GOP leaders used a procedural measure called a "motion to recommit" to amend the Democratic gun-control bill.

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Tuesday that Congress should “look at” a cost of living pay raise for members of Congress.

Last week, House Democratic leadership was considering lifting the pay freeze that’s been in place since 2009, which would have raised pay for members by $4,500 from the current $174,000 annual salary. Top Democrats have reportedly abandoned the proposal, which would have been part of the $1 trillion budget being considered in the House.

“I know when you talk about this subject, about a COLA, a cost of living increase, it does evoke an emotion, kind of an impulsive emotion. I think it's one that we should pause and look at,” McCarthy said during a press conference on Tuesday.

"I do not want Congress, at the end of the day, to only be a place that millionaires serve. This should be a body of the people and I think it's something that should be looked at," he added.

McCarthy said not increasing pay since 2009 has brought a “real challenge” to staffing on Capitol Hill.

"The other thing that happens to a cost-of-living increase that hasn't increased in ten years — it's also tied to the staff and to the security inside Congress,” he said. “I know the Executive Branch continued to go up in the last ten years but it brings a real challenge to bring staff as well."

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