S A L A R I E S AND ALLOWANCES:
MINI B R I E F N U M B E R M B 8 0 2 0 6
P a u l E. C w y e r
Government D i v i s i o n
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
MAJOR I S S U E S S Y S T E M
D A T E O R I G I N A T E D 02/14/80
DATE YPDATED 08/20/82
F O R A D D I T I O N A L I N F O R M A T I O N C A L L 287-5700
COMPENSATION O F MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
$60,662.50 per annum
Effective Jan. 1 , 1 9 8 2 , a Member i s allowed to d e d u c t , for income t a x
purposes, l i v i n g expenses up t o $ 3 , 0 0 0 per annum while away from his o r her
congressional district o r home State [ 2 6 U.S.C. 162(a) and 2 U.S.C. 31(c); 6 7
Stat. 322, Aug. 1 , 1 9 5 3 and reinstated by P.L. 97-216, 96 Stat. 1 9 4 , J u l y 1 8 ,
This provision was effective f o r Members prior
to t h e 9 7 t h Congress.
However, a s a r e s u l t o f legislation passed during the F i r s t Session of t h e
97th C c n g r e s s , the $ 3 , 0 0 0 annual limitation was repealed and n e w t a x
provisions became effective retroactively to Jan. 1 , 1 9 8 1
97-51, 9 5
Stat. 9 6 7 , oct. 1 , 1981).
Under t h e n e w t a x provisions a s directed by Congress and subsequently s e t
forth by t h e I R S o n Jan. 2 1 , 1 9 8 2 , Members were permitted
to choose a m o n g
three a l ~ e r n a t i v e s i n calculating l i v i n g expenses.
Under t h e first m e t h o d , a
Member was allowed to deduct a l l living expenses while in Washington with n o
statutory l i m i t on the amount of living expenses that could be deducted.
Members were required to maintain complete documentation of a l l expenditures.
Under t h e second method, a Member
was allowed to deduct $ 5 0 per day
multiplied by the number of congressional d a y s per y e a r , plus a n y interest
and taxes o n h i s or her Washington a r e a home.
(A congressional day w a s
defined a s a n y day i n the taxaSle y e a r except f o r days in periods when t h e
Member's Chamber w a s n o t in session for five consecutive d a y s o r m o r e ,
T h e only required documentation was for taxes a n d
interest paid on t h e Member's Washington home.
Under the third m e t h o d , a Member w a s permitted
Sy the number of congressional days with no
A Member was n o t a b l e to deduct interest and taxes on his o r her
a r e a home.
INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT P R O V I S I O N S FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
HEALTH I N S U R A N C E
Members a r e eligibie to participate i n the Federal Employees
with more than 6 0 optional health
voluntary, contributory basis.
on . a
Members are eligible t o participate in the Federal Employee L i f e Insurance
Program with the amount of coverage for personal
insurance computed by
Retirement benefits a r e made available t o Members
application under the
Participation is voluntary with Members making payments of 8 % of their Salary
into the system.
T o draw benefits, a Member must have been in Congress a
minimum of five y e a r s , a t a n y , t i m e , and have paid into the retirement fund
f o r a t least the last five years of Federal civilian service.
EXPENSE ALLOWANCES FOR UNITED S T A T E S REPRESENTATIVES
H G U S Z ALLOWANCE SYSTEM
Members have two allowances available t o them f o r discharging official and
(1) t h e Clerk Hire Allowance, and (2) the Official
CLERK HIRE ALLOWANCE
Eazh Member i s entitled t o a n a n n u a l clerk hire allowance of $352,536 f o r not
to exceed 1 8 permanent employees.
As many a s four additional employees may
be designated by the Member, but need n o t be counted a s permanent employees
if they fall into one of the following categories:
(11 Part-time employees;
(2) Employees drawing compensation from more than
o n e employing authority of the House;
Interns, other than LBJ interns (see below);
( 4 ) Enployees on leave-without-pay status; and
( 5 ) Temporary employees.
Employees' salaries a r e set a t annual rates of not l e s s
excess of $57,500.
HOUSE INTERN PROGRAM
Members are authorized to employ f o r two months in a n y - year an additional
employee to be k n o w n a s a "Lyndon Baines Johnson Congressional Intern."
amount available t o each Member f o r employment of a n intern i s established a t
a total gross sum of $1,700 payable a t a rate of $ 8 5 0 per month
contingent fund of the House.
No more than o n e intern a t a time may
employed during t h e 2-month period.
OFFICIAL EXPENSES ALLOWANCE
A base allowance of $47,300 is authorized each
representational duties of his or her office.
available in addition to:
(1) A sum for travel based upon a formula: the distance
between D.C. a n d furthest point in a Member's
district times 64 times a per mile rate that ranges from
3 0 cents to 1 8 cents depending on distance.
account is in no case to be less than $4,950.
(2) The dollar equivalent to 15,000 times the highest long-distance
telephone rate per minute from the District of
Columbia to the Member's district.
In no case is the
equivalent amount specified to be less than $6,000.
If the Member has elected to use WATS or similar
service in his or her office, the 15,000 minute multiplier
will be reduced by one half.
In no case is the
equivalent amount in such case to be less than $3,000.
(3) The dollar e q u i v a l e n t t o 2,500 square feet multiplied by the
highest applicable rate per square foot charged the
Federal agencies by the Administrator of the General
Services Administration in the district for rental of office
The Official Expenses Allowance may be used for expenses of travel, office
equipment lease, district office lease, stationery, telecommunications, mass
mailings, postage, computer services, and other official expenses.
following items or Classes of items are excluded from those that may be paid
from the allowance:
(1) Expenses relating to the hiring and employment of
individuals, including, but not limited t o , employment
service fees, transportation of interviewees to and
from employment interviews, and cost of relocation upon
acceptance or termination of employment.
(2) Items purchased from Other than the House stationery
store which have a useful life in excess of the current
term of the Member, and which would have a residual
value of more than $25 upon the expiration of the current
term of the Member.
( 3 ) Holiday greeting cards, flowers, and trophies.
Personal advertisements (other than meeting or
(5) Donations of any type, except flags of the United States
flown over the Capitol and items purchased for use as gifts
when o n official travel for the House of Representatives
outside the United States, its territories, or
( 6 ) Dues or assessments other than to legislative support
organizations a s approved by the Committee on House
(7) Educational expenses for courses of study, information
or training programs, unless the benefit accrues
primarily to the House and the skill or knowledge is
not commonly avaiiable.
( 8 ) Purchases of radio and television time.
(9) Parking for Member and employees at district
offices, except when included as a n integral
part of the lease or occupancy agreement for the
district office space.
A Member may elect to reduce the Clerk Hire Allowance by up to $15,000
session and increase the Official Expenses Allowance by a like amount.
MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL TO AND FROM EACH SESSION OF CONGRESS
Each Member is entitled to an amount equivalent to 20
mileage to and from each regular session of Congress.
TRAVEL ALLOWANCE FOR ORGANIZATIONAL CAUCUSES OR CONFERENCES
Each Member-elect and one designated
who . attend
organizational caucus or conference and each incumbent Member reelected to
the ensuing Congress and one designated staff person who attend any such
caucus or conference convening after the adjournment sine die of the Congress
in the year involved are to be paid for one round trip each between place of
residence in the district and Washington, D.C. for purpose of attending such
caucus or conference.
Each Member-elect (other than an incumbent Member reelected to the ensuinq
Congress) who attends such caucus or conference i s , in addition, to be
reimbursed on a per diem or other basis for expenses incurred in connection
EXPENSE ALLOWANCES FOR UNITED STATES SENATORS
OFFICIAL OFFICE EXPENSE ACCOUNT
Effective Oct. 1 , 1 9 7 7 , an Official Office Expense Account was established
for each Senator. Accounts range from $33,000 to $143,000 per annum.
account varies for each Senator due to the factors used in setting the
individual a l l o w a n c e amounts:
distance between Washington, D.C.
home S t a t e and population of the State. T h e Disbursing Office i s authorized
to make payment to a Senator a s soon a s a n expense i s submitted with
T h e total allowance, payable from t h e contingent fund of t h e
S e n a t e , is determined by totaling the amounts that
established for separate allowance categories.
Presently, these categories
(1) Official telegrams a n d long-distance telephone calls
and related services.
(2) Stationery and other office supplies procured through
the Senate Stationery Room f o r use for official
Mailing or delivery of postal matters relating to official
(4) Official office expenses incurred in h i s o r her S t a t e
(other than equipment and furniture).
office equipment Seyond basic allocations may be
made through the 1 0 % f u n d s , listed under (9) below.
( 5 ) Official telephone charges incurred outside Washington, D.C.
( 6 ) Subscriptions to newspapers, magazines,
periodicals, and clipping o r similar services.
Travel expenses incurred by t h e Senator and employees i n h i s
or %er off ice.
Expenses incurred by individuals selected by a Senator to
serve o n panels or other bodies making recommendations f o r
nominees to service a c a d e m i e s o r Federal judgeships.
Other official expenses a s the Senator determines a r e
(a) additional office equipment for Washington, D.C.,
o r State offices.
(b) actual transportation expenses incurred
by the Senator and employees for official business
in the Washington metropolitan area.
This Ls a l s o
allowed to employees assigned to a State office for
actual transportation expenses in the general
vicinity of t h e office to which assigned, but i s
n o t available f o r a change of assignment within the
State o r for commuting between h o m e and office.
T h e total reimbursement expense f o r t h e calendar year may not
of t h e total Official Office Expense Account.
A separate section appears in t h e quarterly Report of the Secretary of t h e
S e n a t e showing a l l expenses reimbursed to each Senator under this item.
T h e following expenses may not be reimbursed
Office Allowance (4) or the 10% Allowance:
Commuting, including parking fees incurred in commuting.
Purchase of holiday greetin9 cards, flowers, trophies,
awards, and certificates.
Donations or gifts of any type, except gifts of flags
flown over the U.S. Capitol and copies of the book, "We,
Dues or assessments.
Purchase of radio or television time, or for space in
newspaper or other print media, except classified advertising
for personnel to be employed in a Senator's office.
Expenses incurred by an individual who is not an employee,
except those individuals selected by a Senator to serve on
panels or other bodies making recommendations for nominees
to service academies or Federal judgeships.
Travel expenses by employees incurred pursuant to a change
of assignment within the State or in commuting between
home and office.
Relocation expenses incurred by a n employee i n connection
with the commencement or termination of employment or a
change of duty station.
Compensation paid to an individual for personal services
performed in a normal employer-employee relationship.
(This language is interpreted to prohibit contracts
for services between staff and Member; all personal
office staff must be on the Senate monthly payroll).
Payment of or reimbursement for the
prohibited by law:
Expenses incurred for entertainment or meals [ 2 U.S.C.
Payment of a'dditional salary or compensation to an employee
(2 U.S.C. 68).
Expenses incurred for the maintenance or care of private
vehicles (contained in each regular annual Legislative
Branch Appropriations Act).
The Account can be used for official office expenses of the senator and his
or her staff with no limitation on the amount which can be spent in a n y - one
category (except for the limitation of 10% for "Official Expensesw).
The statutory mileage, at the rate of 20 cents a mile for each Senator to and
returning from each regular session of Congress, is a separate appropriation
which is not paid from the Official Office Expense Account.
A D M I N I S T R A T I V E A N D CLERICAL ASSISTANCE T O SENATORS
Regular clerk hire allowances are allocated according to the size of a
Senator's State, and vary from $621,054 for a Senator representing a State
with population less than 2,000,000 to $1,247,879 for a Senator representing
a State with population of 21,000,000 or more.
There are 1 6 population
Each Senator may set the rates of compensation for employees in his or her
office so long as no employee receives a salary at a rate less than $1,151
per annum or in excess of $37,648 per annum, except that (i) the salaries of
three employees may be Set at not more
than $53,600 per annum;
salaries of five employees may be set at not more than $54,100 per annum;
(iii) the salary of one employee may be set a t not more
than $57,000 per
annum; and (iv) the salaries of all other employees may be fixed at not more
than $37,648 per annum.
An unspecified number of staff can be employed under
the total clerk hire allowance for each Senator.
ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANCE TO SENATORS
Senators are authorized an allowance of $192,624 per fiscal year for purposes
of appointing legislative assistants to assist him or her with legislation of
committees on which serving. However, the ectitlement of funds is to be
reduced on the basis of committee assignment and amount of committee staff
assistance that a Senator controls by appointment or recommendation.
Senators may employ interns during the academic year and during the summer
with Senators making their own financial arrangements for such employment.
PAPER AND ENVELOPE ALLOWANCE
An annual paper allowance of blank sheets (memo, offset paper),
and envelopes for each Senator is based on State population
States with 1,200,000 or fewer adult constitutents are entitled to 1,200,000
sheets of paper per year. All other States are entitled to one sheet of
paper per year, per adult constitutent. Letterheads and envelopes vary
180,000 to 360,000.
A monthly allowance of public document envelopes for each Senator is based
upon State population ranging from maximum allowance of 100,000 to a minimum
of 50,000 letterheads and envelopes.
OFFICE SPACE IN STATES
Each Senator is authorized to secure, in an amount determined by
suitable office space in Federal buildings in the State he or she represents.
In the event suitable office space is not available in Federal buildings, a
Senator is authorized to lease privately ownee office space.
square feet of office space secured for a Senator (with no restrictions on
the number of offices) ranges in 13 categories from 4 , 8 0 0 square feet if the
population of his or her State is less than 2,000,000 to 8,000 square feet if
such population is 17,000,000 or more.
MOBILE OFFICE SPACE FOR SENATORS
Each Senator is entitled to lease one mobile office for use only i n the State
he or she represents and is to be reimbursed for rental payments and cost of
operating the office. Limitations have been placed on the terms of the lease
and maximum annual rental payments and operating costs that may be reimbursed
to a Senator.
OFFICE EQUIPMENT IN STATES
Other than office space rental, each Senator is authorized an aggregate
amount of $22,550 for State office furniture, equipment and other office
furnishings for one or more offices if the aggregate square feet of office
space is not in excess of 4,800 square feet.
Such aggregate. amount of
$22,550 is increased by $500 for each authorized additional incremental
increase in cffice space of 200 square feet.
Therefore, the aggregate
allowance ranges between $22,550 and $31,350.
OFFICE EQUIPMENT IN WASHINGTON
Each Senator receives certain basic office equipment allocated in accord.ance
with the population of State and other factors as stipulated by
Rules and Administration Committee.
ORIENTATION SEMINARS FOR NEW SENATORS AND STAFF MEMBERS
The Secretary of the Senate and the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the
Senate are authorized to expend sums not to exceed $3,000 during any fiscal
year, to conduct orientation seminars for new Senators and staff.
COMPENSATION AND ALLOWANCES OF
$79,125 per annum
$10,000 per annum, non-taxable nor allowable a s a
deduction under the Internal Revenue Code
CLERK HIRE, AS PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
$945,000 for FY82
STATIONERY, AS PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
$4,500 per annum
POSTAGE, AS PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
$ 1 , 2 1 5 for air mail and special delivery each
f i s c a l y e a r , i n addition to authorized u s e of
the franking privilege provided to Members
Retirement benefits, based o n a g e and length of s e r v i c e , a s w e l l a s prior
military a n d Federal Government service, a r e a v a i l a b l e to t h e V i c e P r e s i d e n t ,
VICE PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION
T h e Vice President i s entitled to protection of t h e
Department of t h e Treasury.
COMPENSATION AND ALLOWANCES OF T H E SPEAKER OF T H E H O U S E OF R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S
$ 7 9 , 1 2 5 per annum
$ 1 0 , 0 0 0 per a n n u m , t a x a b l e
T h e S p e a k e r , a s a n elected House M e m b e r , i s a l s o entitled
to a n y other benefits received a s a Member of the House.
T h e Speaker i s allowed twelve staff m e m b e r s
a s S p e a k e r , in addition t o his clerk hire a s a
T h e Speaker i s entitled t o a n a d d i t i o n a l $ 4 0 , 0 0 0 per
session to be paid from t h e contingent f u n d of the H o u s e
for office personnel and rental or l e a s e of neccessary
T h e Speaker of the H o u s e , a s a Member of t h e H o u s e , r e c e i v e s
the same retirement benefits a s a Member o f Congress.
Provisions have been made in the past f o r F e d e r a l o f f i c e
s p a c e , furniture, equipment, f u r n i s h i n g s , a n d staff f o r
specified periods of time for r e t i r e d Speakers.
COMPENSATION OF CONGRESSIONAL OFFICERS AND L E A D E R S
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND S E N A T E
Majority and Minority Leaders o f t h e House of
Representatives and Senate..
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
per a n n u m
Clerk of the House.......................
Sergeant at Arms.........................
Secretary of the Senate.................
Sergeant a t Arms and Doorkeeper
President pro tempore..........
Secretary for Majority
Secretary for Minority
is no Vice
COMPENSATION OF STANDING COMMITTEE EMPLOYEES
HOUSE OF REPRESEN.TATIVES
Maximum salary for not to exceed two employees is $58,500 per
All other employees are limited to $57,500 per annum.
STANDING COMMITTEES EXCEPT APPROPRIATIONS
Maximum salary for not to exceed four employees is $58,500 per
Maximum salary for not to exceed two other employees is $54,900 per
Maximum salary for each of all other employees is
$53,600 per annum.
Maximum salary for not to exceed five employees is $58,500 per
Maximum salary for not to exceed 1 6 other employees is
$54,900 per annum.