Congressional Perks

The number of congressional perks available to members of Congress has declined over the last few decades, but there are still a few. Here is a sampling of their "employee" benefits:

Automatic pay hikes:

Members of Congress receive automatic pay raises each year. In fact, it takes a special vote to stop an increase. Representatives and senators don't have to worry about rising prices eroding the value of their paychecks.

Gold-plated pensions:

The retirement benefits members of Congress receive are two to three times more generous than those offered in the private sector for executives with comparable salaries. Also, congressional pensions are inflation-protected, a feature that fewer than one in 10 private plans offer. Lawmakers can only lose their pension for such "high crimes" as treason and espionage, so even those convicted of accepting bribes, committing fraud, or other "lesser crimes," even while serving as sitting members, retain their pensions.

Privately-funded junkets:

Some trips are legitimate, but special interests pay a lot of money to take members of Congress to lush resorts like Florida's 300-acre Turnberry Isles Resort and Spa where "no detail has been overlooked, from the oversized marble baths with whirlpools and televisions to the private balconies."


Members get free parking at a good location at both major airports, Reagan and Dulles. There are prized parking spaces on Capitol Hill. Senior members get limousines.

The small conveniences:

There are a number of small benefits, like a gym membership for half the cost of a typical membership for a major metropolitan area. The Internal Revenue Service has two customer service centers on Capitol Hill to help members and their staff fill out their tax forms.

Source: National Taxpayers Union, American RadioWorks

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