Despite Rep. Jim Matheson's annual argument to have a vote on whether Congress should get a 2 percent pay raise, House members sided with the automatic hike during a debate over a spending bill for several departments. It's the sixth time Matheson, Utah's only Democratic House member, has tried to get a vote on the pay raise and the sixth time he's lost.
"We continue to swim in a pool of red ink," Matheson said on the House floor Tuesday. "I don't think it's appropriate to have this . . . raise go through without an up or down vote."
House members disagreed 249 to 167 in a procedural vote that avoids a debate over pay. Republican Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Cannon voted to move forward, and Matheson voted against the rule. Matheson - who declines the raise until the next one takes effect - was the only House member to bring up the pay hike.
Pending Senate approval, rank-and-file members of Congress will earn $168,500 starting in January 2007.
Matheson introduced a bill last year to eliminate the automatic pay raise, part of a broader spending bill, but the legislation has languished in two House committees since December.