Dear Mr. Gavaler:
Thank you for your contacting me with your concerns regarding the pay and benefits of Members of Congress. It is good to hear from you, and I have enclosed two Congressional Research Service reports that detail the salaries, allowances, and retirement benefits that are provided to Members of Congress.
You will be pleased to know that Members of Congress have not received a pay increase since 2009. Since arriving in Congress, I have fought to overturn the law which gives automatic annual pay adjustments to Members of Congress. Traditionally, Members automatically receive a pay adjustment based upon a formula established in 1989. In order for this pay increase to be stopped, Congress must pass a law to prohibit the increase.
In addition, each year since my election, I have been proud to make charitable contributions equal to the pay increase Congress approved for itself before I took office. I also thought it was wrong for Members of Congress to get a pay raise in 2009, so I have donated the entire value of that pay raise to charities each year since then as well. So far, I have contributed a total of $119,700 to 113 Sixth District charities and nonprofits organizations.
You may be interested to know that Obamacare contained a mandate that Members of Congress and their congressional staff may only be offered health plans through the new Health Insurance Exchanges. Therefore, in compliance with the law, I will be purchasing my health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Exchange.
As you may know, on September 30, 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published its final rule regarding how it will implement this mandate for Members of Congress and congressional staff. The OPM rule states that while Members of Congress and congressional staff are not eligible for premium tax credits for Exchange plans, they will continue to have an employer contribution made toward their health insurance premiums. However, the amount of the contribution cannot exceed the amount that would have been made toward an employee’s coverage under the previously used Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program (FEHB) Program, the healthcare option for Members of Congress and their staff until January 1, 2014.
The House of Representatives will reconvene for the 115th session on January 3, 2017. I hope you will be in touch as the 115th Congress debates issues of importance to the United States.
Again, thanks for the benefit of your comments. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance.
Member of Congress