The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, having done virtually nothing whatsoever since taking over in January, has patted itself on the back and given itself a raise in pay. Welcome to Washington.
Democrats have for weeks been privately wringing their hands over whether to accept an automatic 2.5 percent pay increase, fretting that the raise may appear inconsistent with their campaign promises.
But last night, the House made its peace with it, rejecting a bid to block the automatic cost-of-living raise of about $4,400 on a 244 to 181 vote.
Sources say Majority Leader Steny Hoyer supported accepting a bump in the $165,200-per-year salary since the Democrats kept their word by quickly pushing through the first federal minimum-wage increase in nearly a decade after taking power in January.
But Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel– ever conscious of ensuring that Democrats stay in power — was said to be a bit skittish about it, because Democrats made the raise a big issue during the elections. The Illinois congressman has long donated his salary increases to charity.
Emanuel is right to be skittish. The Democratic noise machine was in full power mode yesterday to try to get a meme started that the Republicans were "obstructionist" – for using exactly the same tactics in the Senate that the Democrats used when in the minority, mind you. (When they were doing it, they painted themselves as champions of the underdog.) Memeorandum had a bunch of prominent left-wingers all spouting the same well-coordinated "spontaneous" language on that subject. But there is no cover for them in the House where nothing has been accomplished of any real value since Pelosi took the gavel. Yet they just took a raise for themselves. Expect that little fact to come back to haunt them around election time.