tv Washington Journal David Hawkings CSPAN January 4, 2019 1:55am-2:10am EST
who are you watching? who are some of the new faces that you will be watching over the next two years ? >> of course everyone has an ion alexandria-esque il cortez. she has a huge social media presence and she is one that says she will already approved the package. she has been opposing leader nancy pelosi's package of climate change. we expect to see a lot from her over the next coming weeks or months. to follow christina peterson's reporting go to wall street journal.com or go to her twitter page. thank you, christina. joining us from inside the capital is david hawking's editor in chief of the firewall to talk about benefits and pay for members of congress. what will these new members, what will these new members be sworn in today be paid? >> they will all be paid the same amount of money which is $174,000 a year. there's a lot of talk right now
on social media about why members of congress going to continue getting paid during the shutdown. the answer in simple terms is the constitution says so and essentially says members of congress should get paid no matter what. there are some members including some freshman members who 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 hundred 74,000 by the way has been the same for a decade. it was supposed to be an inflationary increase every year to take congressional pay off the field it's a political issue, they would just take a cola every year unless they voted the formula flee to deny themselves that raise and that is what they have done every year since 2009. at the cola increase happened, i think my calculation would be about $208,000 right now instead it is 174,000. what about senior members
of congress. those in leadership, do they get paid more? that's two, true. there are senior members of congress that get paid more. some of them get paid $193,000, the speaker the house is paid even more than that. the speaker of the house gets $223,500 a year. so nancy pelosi assuming she gets elected speaker today gets a race. and she will make significantly more than most of the people in front of her who are voting on her future. members of congress have said the hundred and 74,000 is not that much money when you have to live in two different places and have a resident here. are they allowed to make money outside of being members of congress ? >> are not allowed to make much. i think it's 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 are in business cannot, some people 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 up to $28,000 a year. yes, it is a, it is a point worth noting for people not familiar with washington dc that this 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 where you and i are right now. it was pretty cheap actually pick it was pretty good a young guy just married could a four an apartment for about $700. that was a lot of money in some parts of the country but not a lot of money in washington. or the east coast. the same apartment i looked the other day the rent is $2100 a month. dc housing is expensive.
very few members do it. some of them, as you think your viewers know, do in fact live in their offices. they get rollaway beds and some actually sleep on the very couches in their offices where the next morning they will greet constituents and asked him to sit on those couches for the same meetings. it's an odd practice by congress. some would say illegal that it's actually taking a federal benefit that they don't have to pay any taxes on which is essentially free housing but nobody has called the question. a couple dozen members we think at least will be sleeping in
offices and some of the new ones will be taking up that habit pretty soon. what about perks or benefits or healthcare? >> healthcare, they do get, since the enactment of the affordable care act, one of the requirements and outlaw which was directly written to address voters believe that members of congress got exempted from obamacare, members of congress actually have to buy their health insurance on the affordable care act exchange. so they are required to essentially participate in obama for serving in congress. they do get other benefits, yes. there are some perks. there are special parking places for them at the local airports to allow them to cut it close when they are trying to make a flight. of course, when they are here, they can, it's easy to get a cup of coffee and a free sandwich. there are more elaborate roles and that, the toothpick role, which i think is always amusing to mention, 15 years ago congress had an ethics rule where a member of congress can go and eat free food if they can eat it with a hand or a toothpick that they could not get a free 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 pension if they remain in office at least five years. that's essentially the better part of one term if your senator. to have terms of your house member. and then you are invested in the pension system. there's this internet bully social media believe that members of congress can make their entire salary of pension after serving only one term, that's not true. have to serve at least five years. the patient is calculated in such a way that on average, it's tough to play the averages, because members of congress come here with different expenses some with federal somewhat state service, if maybe $40,000 would be somebody who serves four or five terms and then retires and then once they turn 62 they have to wait until they're 62, generally, they would get a pension in the 40s.
it's nothing close to their full salary. do they ever lose pension? >> they can lose their pension. there have been some members of congress very rare instances members of congress have i believe a couple of members who have been expelled, have had been denied their pensions from being expelled but hard to lose your pension. what about the budgets for each of their office. how is it never calculated and how do they spend the money? >> great question because it is an important part of in essence the members compensation because in essence each member has the higher staff to work for him or her. in general it works like this. the congress appropriate the block of money that is apportioned almost equally to every house member there are a few exceptions. they get a chunk of money that they can spend as they wish on office rents in their home
districts, and hiring staff, stationery, supplies, travel back and forth to the districts, the only deviation, there are two deviations on which that money is fixed for all house members, members from big and expensive cities get a little bit more to compensate them for the high cost of renting office space in their district, and members from far away from washington get a little bit more in their budget to pay for the long haul flights back to california specially or hawaii or the mountain west. on the senate side it's different because as we all know, every senator represents, every state has two senators so california has two senators and so does vermont. they have vastly different numbers of constituents to deal with. in the senate the office budget is apportioned differently. a senator from california has more money to spend in his or
her budget that i senator from vermont are one of the other single house member states. in theory, a house member, every house member represents more or less the same number of people not the same for the senate because the senate office budgets vary somewhat not any midget, an enormous amount twinned the state senate and the tiny senators. after the me to movement of last year, had the roles changed with sexual harassment in capitol hill? >> they have. right to the very end of congress in september, congress can together last-minute on legislation that would change the way sexual harassment and other harassment discrimination claims by staff members are handled by congress. one of the most important ways was public to know is that it's no longer possible for house member to get the taxpayers to pay for a sexual harassment
claim which was what happened in a couple of high profile cases last year. in a case like the house member from texas who was forced to give up his seat because after it was revealed that he used taxpayer money to pay for sexual harassment and the longer serving in the house john conyers he also used taxpayer money to pay for that, that has not changed. the house rules practice is going to be voted on and we assume adopted this afternoon on mostly partyline democratic party line vote would expand some of those roles further to protect staffers even more. it would actually explicitly dial down sexual relationships between embers of calm, congress and their staff, it would bar and expand the no taxpayer money can be spent that you can't use taxpayer
money to pay any judgment for any kind of discrimination not just sexual but employment, racial, disability discrimination, any other kind of discrimination. if a house member is found to have discriminated, he will have to pay that money out of his and our, her own pocket. what is a firewall ? >> the firewall is the newest media organization in town or we hope around the country as people start reading it. it's an enterprise that a colleague of mine and i are creating to cover nothing but the issues that people say are contributing to our broken democracy. are going to be covering money, politics, voting rights, political mapmaking or gerrymandering, the challenges that are confronting congress that make people think congress is dysfunctional, we think these issues are undercovered especially in the current
generalist a climate where so much energy has tips be spent appropriately uncovering the white house. we think that some of these issues about democratic reform need more light shed on them. we hope that by spreading light on the not necessarily as a cheerleader for one proposal or another book by shedding light on the debate and by showing ways on how to fix it by getting the public engaged in thinking more about the issues for the next election cycle when it approaches no matter how you feel about the political system should be changed, they will be well informed to make those issues part of their decision-making process in the 2010 election and we hope beyond. struck out david hawking's editor in chief of the firewall, thank you. >> thank you very much. struck a c-span's washington journal, following issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, we get your reaction to the new congress and the democrats taking over the house of representatives. join the conversation all morning with their calls, tweets, facebook comments.
t-shirt to watch c-span's washington journal. live at seven eastern friday morning. over 100 new members join the house and senate for the 116th congress. five of them come from states that have only one or two congressional districts. south dakota voters elected kelly armstrong to represent the state in the house of representatives. mr. armstrong chaired the north dakota republican party before his run up office. he also had a seat in the state senate. he's an attorney and executive in his family's oil and gas exploration business. dusty johnson joins the house in south dakota. he served as chief of staff for the ongoing governor it is du gard during his first term. mr. johnson then joined the south dakota based telecommunications firm vantage point solutions. republican russ fulcher was elected to idaho's first district after serving a decade in the state senate.
he works in commercial real estate, but had a prior career as a sales and marketing executive at an electronics company. democrat jerry goldin is the first member elected to congress by rank choice or instant runoff voting. in which voters rank their candidates by preference which are taken into account if no candidate wins the majority. mr. golden's held a seat in the state house for the last four years. he served tours in iraq and afghanistan as a marine before working for maine's republican senator susan collins and the committee staffer washington dc. former congressman ed case returns to congress this time representing hawaii's first district. he previously represented the second district from 2002 to 2007. for that, he was a member of the state legislator serving as a house majority leader for part of his tenure. mr. case is an attorney and cousin of aol cofounder steve case. new congress, ne