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tv   Washington Journal David Hawkings  CSPAN  January 3, 2019 6:35pm-6:50pm EST

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some critics would say media hungry chairman who was always on tv criticizing the trumpet administration is now replaced , who was ah of idaho much more withdrawn figure in the capital. he is not somebody who is racing to cameras and he is not taken many positions against trump. the well card is going to be judiciary. lindsey graham becomes a committee chair for the first time since getting elected in 2002. -- took him6 years 16 years. he is a force of nature. you never know which way he is coming down. going to bes railing against trump or supporting trump. all of his judicial nominees are going to have to run through the lindsey graham gauntlet. it is going to be interesting to say the least. spent manykane has
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years roaming the halls of congress. you can follow him by going to washingtonpost.com. it is taxes, infrastructure, health care, trade, etc.? we want to hear from you this morning. joining us from inside the capital is david hawking to talk fort benefits and pay members of congress. so what will these new members, what will the new members being sworn in today be paid? guest: they will all be paid the same amount of money, $174,000 a year. there is a lot of talk right now on social media about why our members of congress are going to continue getting paid during the shutdown, and the answer in simple terms is the constitution says so. it says members of congress are to get paid november what. -- paid no matter what. some freshmen members are promising to give back a prorated amount of their pay to the treasury until the shutdown is over, but they will continue receiving this money, that
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174,000 has been the same for a decade. it used to be that congress would allow itself an inflationary increase every year to take congressional pay off the field as a political issue. a quota everye year unless they voted affirmatively to deny themselves that race, and that is what they have done every year since 2009. if the increases have happened, my back of the envelope calculation is that the members 8,000.ughly $200,00 host: do leaders in congress get paid more? guest: five members of congress to paid more than that 170 $4000. the minority and majority leaders get paid $193,000, and the speaker of the house is paid even more than that. the speaker gets paid 223 $5,000 -- $223,000 a year.
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so assuming that, nancy pelosi will make significantly more than members in the future. host: but that is not much money when you have to live in two different places, have a residence here, etc. are they allowed to make money outside of being a member of congress? they cannot make much. it is a percentage, about $28,000 a year, but there are all kinds of restrictions on how they can make that money. lawyers who are members of congress are not supposed to represent clients. people who were in business can continue to get paid by their family businesses if they do work. doctors can continue seeing patients, but they can only take , as i say, up to $20,000 a year. yes, it is a point worth noting for people who are not familiar with washington, d.c., that this
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is one of the more expensive metropolitan areas in which to live. i moved here 32 years ago and lived on capitol hill, a few blocks from where you and i are right now. it was pretty cheap, actually, pretty good. a young guy, just married, could afford an apartment for $700, which is a lot of money in some parts of the country, but is not a lot of money in washington or on the east coast. that same apartment now rents for about $2100 a month, so d.c. housing is expensive and very few members do it. groupf them live in houses, many of your viewers know that they do in fact live in their offices. they get bed rolls or rollaway beds to sleep on the couches in their offices, where the next morning they will greet constituents and ask them to sit on those catches for the same meetings. it is an odd practice in
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congress. some would say it is illegal but a benefit,lly taking a federal benefit that they do not have to pay any taxes on, which is essentially free housing. no one has called that question, so a couple dozen members at least, we think, will be sleeping in their offices and probably some of the new ones will be taking up that habit pretty soon. host: what about perks or benefits, like health care? enactment ofthe the affordable care act, obamacare, one of the requirements in that law, which was directly written to address that they getlief excepted from obamacare, members of congress have to buy their health insurance on the .ffordable care act exchanges they are required to participate in obamacare as part of serving in congress. they do get other benefits, there are some perks, there are special parking places at the
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local airports to allow them to cut it close when they are trying to make a flight. when they are here, it is pretty easy to get a free cup of coffee or a free sandwich. there are rules about things more elaborate than that. the so-called toothpick rule, which is always amusing to mention, 10 or 15 years ago congress had an ethics rule where congress members could go eat free food if they could eat it with their hand or toothpick, but they cannot accept the meal if they had to use a fork. i would say the perks are relatively limited. they do get a pension, they do qualify for a pension if they remain in office at least five years. that is essentially the better part of one term if you are a senator, two-and-a-half terms if you are a house member, and you are vested in the pension send him -- pension system. there is a social media believe that congress members can make
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their entire salary as a pension after serving one term, and that is not true. they have to serve five years, and their pension is calculated in such a way that on average, and it is tough to say these averages because members of congress come here with different experiences, it is maybe $40,000 for somebody who serves four or five terms and retires, and once they turn 62, have to wait until they are 62, generally they would get a pension in that range. it is nothing close to their full salary. host: could they ever lose their pension? guest: they can lose their pension. there have been very rare instances where members of congress have, i believe, a couple members who have been expelled have been denied their pensions by virtue of being expelled, but it is pretty hard to lose their pension. host: and what about the budget -- the budgets for each of their office, the office stipend. how is that number calculated
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and how do they spend the money? guest: sure, great questions because it is an important part ompensation,rs' c because they have to hire a staff to work for him or her. in general it works like this, congress appropriate a block of money that is apportioned almost equally to every house member, with a few exceptions. they get a chunk of money they can spend as they wish on office rent in their home districts, on hiring staff, on stationery, supplies, travel back and forth to their districts. deviations in which that amounts of money, which is fixed for almost all house members, members from big and expensive toies get a little bit more compensate them for the high cost of renting office space in their district, and members far away from washington get a little bit more in their budget to pay for those long-haul flights back to california,
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especially, or hawaii or the mountain west. on the senate side it is a bit different, because as we know every senator -- every state has two senators. california has two senators and sodas vermont. those states have vastly different numbers of constituents to deal with, so in the senate, the office budget is apportioned differently. a senator from california has more money to spend in his or her budget a senator from vermont or one of the single house member states. reiterate, into theory every house member represents more or less the same number of people, not so the senate. the senate office budgets var y somewhat between the big state senators and the tiny, underpopulated date senators. -- underpopulated state senators. the me tooly, after movement last year, have the
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rules on sexual harassment changed on the hill? guest: they have. congress came together at the thatminute on legislation would change the way sexual harassment and other harassment and discrimination claims by staff members are handled in congress. one of the most important ways for the public to know is that it is no longer possible for a house member to get the taxpayers to pay for a sexual harassment claim, which is what happened in a couple of very high profile cases last year. like -- from texas who was forced to give up his seat, after it was unveiled he had used taxpayer money to pay a sexual harassment claim. same for the longest-serving john -- in the house, of michigan, he also left after it was revealed he used taxpayer
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money to pay a settlement. that rule has changed. new rules package that will be adopted on mostly democratic party line vote would expand some of those rules further to protect staffers more. ar sexualexplicitly b relationships between members of congress and not only members of their own staff, but members of any committee they serve on. it expands the no taxpayer money spent language to say that you cannot use taxpayer money to pay for any kind of judgment on discrimination, sexual, employment, disability, any other kind of discrimination claim. house member who is found to have discriminated will have to pay that money out of his or her own pocket. host: david hawking's, what is the firewall? guest: thanks for asking. it is the newest media organization in town, or we hope around the country as people start reading it. it is an enterprise that a colleague of mine and i are
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creating to cover nothing but the issues that people say are contributing to our broken democracy. we will be covering money in politics, voting rights, political mapmaking or gerrymandering, we will be covering the challenges that are confronting congress to make people think that congress is dysfunctional. we think these stories are undercovered, especially in the current journalistic diamond, where so much energy has to be spent appropriately on covering the white house. we think that some of these issues, democratic reform, need more light shed on them. we are hoping that with we -- if we shed light on them, not by being a cheerleader for one or another, but by shining light on the debate, we will get the public engaged and thinking more about these issues in the next election cycle. no matter what they feel about how the political system's they willchanged --
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be well informed to make those issues part of their decision-making process in the 2020 election and we hope the yacht. host:
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