Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) thinks members of Congress aren't paid enough.
Speaking to CQ Roll Call, Moran, who is retiring after this term, said he and his colleagues are not adequately compensated for their public service.
“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran said. “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.”
Rank-and-file members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually. However, Moran says, it's just not enough, as members often have to maintain two residences: one in their home district and one in Washington, D.C.
"A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington," he said, noting that some of his colleagues sleep in their offices or rent "tiny" apartments to save money.
House leaders are currently pushing forward legislation that would again freeze members' pay and prevent them from receiving an automatic 1.6 percent cost-of-living raise. Congressional salaries have not seen a bump since 2009.
Moran plans to propose an amendment to the bill providing a per diem allowance for members to cover their housing costs. Although he acknowledges his amendment is highly unlikely to pass, he says he wants to publicly highlight the issue.
"You won't get a lot of votes," Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said of Moran's proposal. "But you'll make a lot of friends."