Rep. Casten's justification for pay raise may not resonate with constituents, GOP chair Shaw says
Lake County Republican Central Committee Chairman Mark Shaw would like to see U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) put himself in the shoes of the common man.
“I don’t think $174,000 is peanuts,” Shaw told the Lake County Gazette. “We have a lot of people living below the poverty line. The average person that votes for him to go to office, I think, would not appreciate that either because they don’t make nearly that much. I think they are paid very well for the job they have, and they knew what the pay was when they ran for the job.”
With the U.S. House of Representatives now poised to vote on a $1 trillion spending plan that would include the first pay hike for members in nearly a decade, Casten has come out swinging in favor of the legislation by saying the pay raise is a good way to attract the best people to Congress.
"I want to be able to attract the best and brightest to this job, because that’s how I ran my company," Casten said in an interview with The Hill. "When I ran my company, I paid a competitive wage. I didn’t tell people, 'Come here because you’re so committed to our mission that you’re willing to, you know, sleep on your friend’s couch and work for peanuts.' It’s horrible that we force people to do that.”
Currently, rank-and-file members earn an annual salary of $174,000, and the 2.6-percent pay hike slated to go into effect early next year would raise salaries to nearly $179,000, or more than three times that of the average American in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Beyond all those disparities, Shaw said he simply does not believe that lawmakers are deserving of a pay raise.
“I think the current House majority is wasting a lot of time trying to come up with reasons for trying to impeach President Trump,” he said. “Since there was no impeachable offense, we need to be spending more time working for the people.”