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March 8th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Capitol Hill (CNN) – A CNN analysis of thousands of pages of Congressional expense reports shows that in the months leading up to the fiscal cliff (and potential, sharp budget cuts), nearly a quarter of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives gave their own office staff bonuses.

Click here to see the list of how much each member of Congress spent and which lawmakers gave their staff what appear to be bonuses.

That money is itemized as “Other Compensation” in the more than 2000-page report.

Only a handful of members of Congress gave us statements defending the bonuses last quarter.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA, wrote, “have a hard working, dedicated team… and I want to pay a salary that reflects their service.”

He said he only gives bonuses if there is “money left over” at the end of the year.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-FL, responded, "We have not had raises or bonuses in several years. The small compensation reflects an increased workload each person had to take on after our staff was downsized because of budgetary cuts."

Similarly, Rep. Dennis Ross, R-FL insisted that the bonuses allowed him to save money. “I believe performance-based pay is an important incentive in the workplace… Also, in the past year we’ve reduced our staff… The bonuses are to reward those remaining for taking on additional duties,” he said.

We went outside Congress to sort out whether the bonuses could be appropriate or not, whether it is something a business might do.

[2:33] “I’m not a big fan of anyone getting bonuses, when things aren’t going well…if we can’t balance a budget, we can’t even pass a budget, I don’t believe in people getting bonuses until things are right,” says Buck Hartzell, head of Investor Learning at Motley Fool.

At the Motley Fool, an investing and media company in Alexandria, Virginia, bonuses are part of the culture. Each employee can get several different bonuses depending on how they, their work group and the entire staff perform.

But Hartzell points out, that is only in successful times. At one point during the recession, there were no bonuses.

Listen to our story to hear how one small business owner looks at the Congressional bonuses and how she would handle a tight budget year.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

soundoff (1,040 Responses)
  1. Howard

    "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others", Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950)

    March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. calvin

    "Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA, wrote, “have a hard working, dedicated team… and I want to pay a salary that reflects their service.” Well, Mr Thompson... what that means is that all of our members of Congress and Senate should get paid SQUAT, NOTHING, NADA, because you all don't do S*** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MoMO

    HOUSE MEMBERS = MAJORITY REPUBS

    March 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • suemac47

      And your point is...what?

      March 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MoMO

    HOUSE MEMBERS = MAJORITY REPUBLICANS.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Skip

    So when is the next revolution?

    March 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean

      aha? the million dollar question.....that was supposed to have happened a long, long time ago!!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hampton

      The next revolution will happen in 80-100 years, because most American's are too stupid to see the changes that are coming, until it is too late. Let the government increase laws that infringe on our right of free speech, to bear arms, and when the government sufficiently reduces our rights, then people will want to rise up. Until then, we are all like frogs in a pot of water

      March 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LouAZ

    Do as I say, not as I do.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MoMO

    HOUSE MEMBERS = Majority GOP.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Donna L

    I'm a federal employe. I've had no raise in 3 years. No bonuses. With the sequestration I will get less percentage for the 401k and less leave due to less hours. A lot of people think us Feds are spoiled and don't work but in the 10 years of working for my current organization, we went from 2,000 employees to 400. We do work hard for very little appreciation from anyone. Reading this crap just infuriates me. I'm just a little peon in this government, but I'm getting screwed too.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      you are right. And the worst part about it is that federal workers, are not even allowed to do public relations explaining to people what they do. They are all in constant fear of the press (the press loves juicy stories about gov waste never spending a second discussing the millions of good stories because it doesn't feed the agenda or stereotype). I used to work for the gov (HHS) and now work in private industry and I never saw more dedicated workers than my peers in the government and it is a shame that they get grouped with congress as nonfunctional.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Silence

      Most people here won't sympathize with you, sadly. They'll just lump you into the same boat as congressmen and senators and all the other hated sections of the federal government. They don't understand that most of the federal government are made up of the hard-working people like you. At least know that there are some people who do understand, and respect your work. 🙂

      March 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      YOU have a job, you have a pension, etc. YOU don't get one bit of sympathy from us at all !!!!!!!!!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Donna L

        Great. Let the entire country go down the drain. It's not just the federal employees that will suffer. It's all the businesses around the bases. There are a lot of businesses that will not make money either.

        March 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • taj

      Thanks for your service. It's the people higher up the chain that are screwing everyone. We have to stop them!!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      I cannot believe that you have the nerve to talk about your govt job 401K and your leave time!!! Thank your lucky stars that you have a job at all, you jerk!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • LJ

      Hence why it's called "public service". I too have worked for both gov't and the private sector. Guess why I left gov't. I left the federal govt for state govt and I can tell you, you get way more "perks" than state govt. Maybe not as much as the private sector, but again you're in public service. People are infuriated right now because you (or collegues of yours) are getting a bonus, while people are losing their jobs because of the inaction of your bosses. Put yourself in the general public's shoes – can you, with a clear conscience, take a bonus while someone loses their job because of a budget "surplus" for your boss' office?

      March 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      DONNA and other Fed Workers, This is Lisa who wrote the story. I am working on sequester pieces and have plenty of voices of non-federal workers, but want to talk more with those in gov. directly affected. Could you e-mail me? lisa.desjardins@cnn.com Thank you.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • suemac47

        Lisa, if you really work for CNN why don't you suggest that they start a daily column on specific areas of waste taking place in our government? You know yourself that you could find $85 billion (the sequester amount) on overspending in less than 5 minutes. It would be beneficial to your readers to read what senseless waste is really taking place!

        March 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      You shouldn't get a raise ever. Federal employees already make 2x as much private workers. And don't forget that 70% pension for life you are probably getting.

      March 10, 2013 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Harry

    And you can sure bet that everyone of these jerks will be re-elected !!!!!

    March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      sure. They tell their constituents what they want to hear, confuse them with lies and misinformation to keep them ignorant and force them to vote for them by tapping into their most basal fears (take away your guns, force your daughters to have abortions or your sons to become gay, or other nonsense). We are seeing the effects of the efforts by politicians and media like Fox to dumb down the american public.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • suemac47

        Gee, Marty, and here I thought it was going the other way! The GOP in its death throes, the Democrats gaining strength, and the world will be rosy in 2014!

        March 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • suemac47

      94% of them were reelected this past election. The voters own this mess.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Derek Determan

    Who writes and reads a 2000 page report? What is wrong with these people in charge?

    March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Believe me, reading it line-by-line is no fun. My husband also wondering why I do these things.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Derek Determan

        This article. All of this is powerful stuff.

        March 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chuck

    When are you going to write the Article about all the Lying that Obma has done
    on the Sequester myeth.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Thanks Chuck but I think you need to look around our site more. We've done several stories about exaggerations or mistakes coming from the Obama admin. about the sequester. Here's one to get you started: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/04/education-boss-apologizes-for-pink-slips-remark/

      March 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. marty rogers

    This is an outrage. Plain and simple. millions of innocent federal workers including veterans are facing furloughs and salary cuts after having a freeze in their salary for years because of the inaction of these people and this what they do? when is this country to wake up and demands we have a separate body that oversees congress and sets laws that affect them. No accountability whatsoever.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      Innocent federal workers with those gaint benefits, etc. I don't think so !!!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Silence

        your kidding, right? Federal workers and congressmen have had pay freezes over the last 3 years. They've had no salary increases and their staffing has gone through major reductions. A majority of federal workers don't receive "huge benefits" at all.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
        • Harry

          Oh my Lord !!! Say it ain't so that govt employees have had their pay frozen for three years. Oh, their poor souls !!!

          March 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
        • Jon

          "your kidding" Government employee? Federal workers make twice the total compensation as private workers (70% pensions for fed workers, 0% for private). Fed workers should not get a raise for 20 years.

          March 10, 2013 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
      • marty rogers

        yes innocent. Sorry if that doesn't fit your stereotype. These are people that work just the same as anybody or harder and yet are the content target of threats regarding their jobs by ignorant people and politicians. By law they cannot defend themselves in the public arena and are forced to quietly take it. Federal benefits are no different that those with equivalent jobs in the private sector unless you are referring to congress. Congress does nOT represent the federal workers. The reason they have brainwashed you into despising federal employees is because people in private enterprise would prefer to conduct business without any regulations, inspection, or supervision to maximize profit even if it destroys the environment, your health, or a thriving capitalism (not corporatism). The more they demonize the role of federal workers in society the more likely it is that people like you will demand they are fired or reduced and the less they have to worry about following regulations. You are a corporate puppet and don't even realize it.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • O.G.

        I'm a federal employee and i dont have any fat paycheck or benefits. I barely make over 30K a year and I pay for insurance and everything else like everyone else. I actually had a better health insurance when I worked in the private side. Now, i'm lossing 20% of my paycheck when others getting extra. I am in charge of budget in my organization and we just had extra money this quarter and I gave it back so it can be used in other places where it's needed. I wish the congress members could be punished or loss pay when they dont do their job or do something this stupid. Idont care if some of them had extra money or their people did more work. we all have to do it. i dont get anything extra. I went and i got a second job and my wife is about to do the same so we can atleast pay our bills and take care of our son who has autisim. If we all have to give something then we all do not just some of us.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Silence

      You do know that the congress is actually in the same boat as these federal workers, right? They've had a pay freeze as well.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Harry

        What the hell? Do you think the American workers are all getting raises in the past several years? Get a dose of reality !!! And let's talk of all those outrageous benefits the govt emploees get can like pensions that the rest of America would die for.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
        • Silence

          I don't see why you're so surprised that I'm keeping a level head and actually looking through the facts, instead of speaking in rhetoric and hatred towards the government. There are some of us who look at every issue individually instead of saying "they're all bad". Most Americans seem obsessed with hating things/people/ideas because they're told that they're supposed to hate them, that they're supposed to be outraged. I'm sorry but, I don't. I'd rather not jump to conclusions and instead form conclusions for each story individually by doing my own research and knowing the facts. From what I've seen, the media sees that hatred is good to promote, so generalized stories like these without any numbers or actual data about who is getting the bonuses, how much the bonuses were for, ect... come out to inspire more hatred, because it's easy to get people riled up, which is good for their business.

          March 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      This is great news!! Federal employees make TWICE as much as private workers (who are actually productive) in total compensation, shown by several studies. Cut their salaries in half.

      March 10, 2013 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. blake

    Congress, filled with slimy, incompetent, hypocrites.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      75% didn't give their offices raises, WOW. That must have been really hard to do, think out it, Coolest job so far. Wonder if they are all like that.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rich

    I agree with "Disgusted in Massachusetts". It use to be that to be A member of congressman, Senate, House, etc, used to be priveledge. That isn't the case any longer, now we have these politicions that stay in office until retirement. We know about the Politicions that are corrupt, because they stepped down or something. I'm pretty sure there are alot more that should be held accountable for their lack of action. Also, I wish the USA would stop meddling in other Countries Business, stop sending them Billions of Dollars for what ever reason, especially since we are so far in Debt. No other country would assist us if we needed it.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PKatte

    The most rotten part of this to me is the ass-tronomical budgets given to each of these representatives and those who seem to use 90% or better of their allowance. Sure, I could give them the benefit of the doubt not knowing the overall operations of their offices but it's too easy to see a bunch hypocrites preaching one thing and doingthe opposite. HOW THE HECK does JESSE JACKSON JR. office use 99% of his budget while on medical leave of absence? The guys who gave bonuses are likely the better of the rotten eggs. We need a quicker way to send these people a message to clean up their act other than waiting for flawed election games to re-elect them.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Jack

    Just their way of saying, "Suck it, America. Suck it long. And suck it hard."

    March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean

      As raw as your comment sounds, I cannot think of a better definition. This is a perfect example as to why we need to put the big screen controls in the side and get involved with our political system. This situation is happening because we grew fat, stupid with fat and stupid kids to go with it. If this had happen anywhere else, France, Venezuela, Israel, Germany, Chile Bolivia, the UK, etc...these bozos would have been on their way out long time ago.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Raul

    Food for thought: Congressional Members should give a bonus out of their own salaries. I have put this into practice by giving my staff 25-50% in bonuses from my own salary because that is how much I appreciate them. It saddens me to see people work so hard for so little while the people that are on top (Congressional Members, CEO's ...) get compensated ridiculous amount of money.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  18. DC Johnny

    CNN Translation: It's a non-issue that President Obama continues to play golf at the cost of millions of dollars per month, and not worth reporting.

    However, any bad news we can throw at Congress, which has somehow become synonymous with the GOP despite incompetence in Reid's Senate, is worth reporting.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PKatte

      Wake up Buddy!!! The robbery is not just from one person or party. It's a damn free for all party. Can you waste 12 non-leave paid hours on your job to protesting something? A majority of these politician make travel and vacation plans at the expense of taxpayers. To be mad at one is just plan senseless to me!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Hi DC Johnny,

      This is Lisa who wrote the story. Glad you commented but here's why you're wrong:

      1. I am a Congressional reporter, that is why this story is about Congress.
      2. Here is the story we did four days ago about the criticism over the president's golf outings: http://bit.ly/10rPQuP
      3. And here's one from three days ago that again talks about said criticism: http://bit.ly/XRfkyz
      4. Any negative light from these bonuses falls on both parties. Both Republicans and Democrats gave bonuses
      5. Anytime you want to accuse me of having a bias, please look through my past work. I work overtime to be balanced and straight. Am I critical and questioning of politicians? Oh yes. But on both sides. Again, check my work before applying a bad stereotype to my reporting.

      The question here is not about the president (those are other questions). The question here is should Congressmen be giving bonuses right now?

      March 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • marty rogers

        glad to hear that you try to be balanced and fair but I hope you understand that balanced and fair doesn't mean splitting bad news to each side equally. It should be in relationship to reality not a forced balance. I would love to see a troy anywhere bout all the quiet service federal workers do such as the outstanding research at NIH or the life of a FAA controller, or a scientist at EPA or NSF, or NASA. The public needs to hear about the work these people do.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • TMG

      Bush played golf all the time, even after soldiers were losing their lives in a war based on lies. Why is Obama expected not to do have down time when all the other presidents did? I remember hearing that Bush vacationed MORE than any other president. I will look to see if I can find this information.

      March 10, 2013 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
    • TMG

      http://politic365.com/2012/05/08/obamas-vacations-of-any-president-bush-racked-up-the-most/

      March 10, 2013 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  19. Jhonny

    This is just unfair, how can they be cutting out funds to things that help or could help us with our debts like schooling or funding money for businesses. They are cutting funds to our army as well, but they got money to give the workers when they already get paid enough. I dont understand how they are considered our leaders if they can't even think of using the money to start help us get out of the debt that we are already in not give it to the workers because they "dont" get paid enough, i don't know about you guys but i find that unfair and not very smart!!

    March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • agagliardi

      Congressional staffers don't get paid a lot. You can see how much they make on the website "legistorm". Many make less than 35K a year when they are college graduates and live in a very expensive city (more than 1000 rent)

      March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Harry

        Oh, cry me a river !!!!!

        March 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
        • Jhonny

          I dont know who Harry is talking to but if you aren't talking to me, I agree with him go cry a river. That money that they are getting bonuses for should go to the newer generation unlike the this government that we have now, this new generation can actually help solve and deal with these issues.

          March 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mike

    These politicians do such a poor job.

    It is a shame we cannot pay millions for each position......maybe then we will get someone qualified who is willing to do the job. Because this 2-500k gets garbage talent.

    March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jhonny

      Yeah i know, the congress we are suppose to count on can't even think of reasons or what to do with the money rather than to give it to the workers! They should help with the debt not give more pay, shallow.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  21. William

    So, the $1,000,000 that each of our Lawmakers receive to run their office every year doesnt cover staffing bonuses? How about this, if our nations leaders wanted to reward his/her staff for doing a good job, then let them pay for it out of their own pockets. Why should we the tax payer pay for it. I serve in the US military, although some of our benefits are getting reduced we will continue to do our job and serve this country with the little pay we receive. Does this make you feel proud to be an American?

    March 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Shawn

    Hey did they get it out of the Army college tuition Program? Today the Army announced that it was cutting all educational funding for all Soldiers. THANKS, GREAT LEADERSHIP!!!

    March 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  23. teafor2

    Don't seem like there are any savings goals afoot in this data. They all go out of their way to spend nearly as much as they are allowed. It is obviously time to allow much less spending. Pure corruption, plain and simple. Lock 'em up.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Working Class

    This is the most redicoulous thing i have ever heard. My pay has been frozen for 4 yrs and no bonuses and i am going to lose everything i have because of the furlough after 14yrs of service and they are giving out bonuses, this is BS. This is the most disfunctional and worthless group i have ever seen in D.C. I wish we the American people would unite and protest to end this stupidity that is going on in Washington.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      you are exactly correct. Millions of federal workers in public service for years, working harder than anyone, will face furloughs and haven't seen a penny in salary increases in 4 years yet is ok for these clowns to give their staffs bonuses!!! it is an outrage! never mind the fact that none of them are taking a salary cut!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      you are exactly correct. Millions of federal workers in public service for years, working harder than anyone, will face furloughs a!!! it is an outrage! never mind the fact that nobody in congress is taking a salary cut!

      March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Harry

        Federal employees working harder than anyone? Oh, PLEASE !!! Let's check out those pensions, etc. they get that the rest of America would die for.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • suemac47

        It's a statistical fact that, on the whole, public employees are less productive than employees in the private sector. In my state (WA) a study was done on how much one public dept actually worked during an average day. The result? Public employees did actual work for about 1/2 hour per day. The rest of the time was spent on visiting back and forth with each other, browsing the internet, playing computer games, and taking care of personal business. This is not spam – it really happened.

        March 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
        • Melissa

          one study done by who and with what intentions in what is likely state employees and you generalize for millions of people? I've worked in both gov and work for private company now, and have never seen so much internet surfing at work than in the company I work for. Most federal agencies have strict guidelines for personal use of gov equipment and it is actually tracked. My bet is your little study had an agenda.

          March 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  25. T Kolber

    Bonus's for being ineffective and getting NOTHING done. Unbelievable. Just stiffing the common man again. Don't we pay for there salaries... No cuts there???? Exempt from insider trading too, if I'm not mistaken...

    March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  26. TSgt Bourland

    So these guys get a bonus, and the military loses its tuition assistance to get a degree. Marines and Army have lost it already; looks like Air Force and Navy are next. How about The Senate, Congress, and the President loose all pay, until they get this budget solved! They have disgraced America, and should be put on trial for treason!
    I have put 20+ years in the Air Force with low pay and the TA (Tuition assistance) was the one good perk we had.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jhonny

      I agree the government, such as congress and president should loss as much money as we do, and out military to see how they handle their issues and life with the little that they get. What they think we will just make money out of our a** come on now, shady people. This "amazing" government is falling apart and I see it's becoming weak! Not like it was before WW2

      March 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dave

    Actually most federal agencies currently have a freeze on bonuses.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Don

    Lovely huh?
    Vote the corruption out of washington now before it's too late...if it isn't already?!

    March 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  29. rslackde

    Doesn't this remind you of someone else? Corporate CEOs who are laying people off at the same time they are making a bonus, And we voted for these representatives, you'd at least think they'd remember who they represent? But I'm guessing the represent the people who they think got them elected the people who made the big contributions, oh they're the CEOs.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  30. I'd comment directly, but...

    I'd comment directly, but I'm scared I'll be cut down by a drone...

    March 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • rslackde

      that's a good reply...

      March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Antonio

    How about targeted raises for the troops and federal employees before you give yourself something.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • fedempl

      The troops have gotten raises in the last 3 years while Fed Employees have gotten zero raises in the last 3 years.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Disgusted in Massachusetts

    Our Congressional members are borderline CORRUPT - they are on the taxpayer gravy train - their junkets, expense programs, lobbyist gifts and trips. They spend money with no regard to taxpayers ..... When will America wake up and demand TERM LIMTS and very short ones?

    Our government looks like a ponzi scheme and it stinks at the nead.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      they are corrupt. it is not borderline

      March 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • david2261

      No you have that wrong...THEY ARE CORRUPT! This great nation is on the brink of collapse and these idiots are letting it happen...BOTH SIDES!!! When it all hits the fan I hope they remember they live here too...they will be hunted by the masses and executed!!

      March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disgusted in Chicago

      Congress & Wall Street one in the same. Its the biggest con going, Public service jobs that have become lucrative careers with short term decision making to benefit your own personal gain. They both get rewarded for doing a bad job!! It is no longer a public service job, they aren't serving us they're serving themselves on our dime!!! Where else can you mismanage money, keep asking for more with no justification on how you are going to improve. It doesn't matter who is getting the bonus – staffers or Congress themselves, fact is they are failing and have conned the American people into thinking they have the answers.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Emily

    As a former Congressional staffer, I will tell you that the salary these people are getting is fractions of what they would be paid in the private sector, and not just as lobbyists, but also as executive assistants, system administrators, analysts, and other policy experts. Most of them work for Congress out of a sense of civic responsibility, and work ridiculous hours to boot. Minor bonuses at the end of the year boosts moral and keeps exceptional people working at a place that doesn't compensate them at market value. Also, many staff members had to work extra long hours at the end of last year due to the sequester debate. There is no overtime on the Hill.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Hi Emily, I've seen some other replies like this and gotten some good tweets and am really happy you said this. Lower-level Hill staffers have very low salaries and very long hours.

      In general, though, they were not the ones getting the most or largest bonuses. Bonuses more often went to higher-level staff, thosw who make six figures or so. It varied office to office of course. A fhandful of offices gave one set amount of bonuses to every staffer. But most either gave bonuses only to higher-ranking staff or they gave much higher bonuses to that higher-paid staff.

      All that said, I would love to do a story on the not-easy life of a young Hill staffer. Let me know if you know anyone interested. Tweet me @LisaDCNN.

      Heck. Anyone with something to say to me (questions, whatever), tweet me.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • American Thinker

      Most of these staffers work there because it serves as a great stepping stone into the corporate world. That is all. It has nothing to do with "civic duty".

      March 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      what you just wrote applies to millions of federal workers who after 3 years of salary freezes, these same congress buffoons refused to protect from getting laid off or lose part of their salary,

      March 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yea

      Emily, you drinking too much of the Kool-Aid. These so-called low wage jobs are internships that go on to make fortunes off the incomes of working people by "serving" in the public sector. Combine their income, benefits (WOW! What great benefits), and the experience/exposure they are getting – they are far better off than their counterparts.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joel

        Could you detail these "WOW" benefits you are referencing?

        March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • dctc@cox.net

      Lady...your crackers! These fools on either side haven't done SQUAT

      March 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Emily, I believe what you say is true, the staffers work hard and deserve those bonuses. However it is clear to me that the 2012 office budgets could be cut 10% without pain. It's time the congress themselves tightens their own belt and shares the pain.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • dctc@cox.net

      Lady...your crackers! These fools on either side haven't done SQUAT TO EARN THER PAYCHECK!! In the real world they all would have been out on there hind ends for garbage performance...

      March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jhonny

        I agree with doc up here, the congress that got the bonus for "hard" work haven't a squat thing about the debt or what we have going on. I know that because if they were doing their job correctly we wouldn't be losing all the jobs and funds for SCHOOLS and BUSSINESS that we need to improve the economy.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • agagliardi

        I responded to this on another comment too, but if you want to see how much money your congressman's staff is making, you can use the website legistorm. It includes job titles.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Here is the thing. I know of some folks (USMC) that are working 24/7 for seven months at a time, that's correct the whole time, and when they go in to work every day they stand a chance that they won't get to come home because they were killed doing what they do. They also are under paid for what they could get on the outside. They also do it as a civic duty. They don't get bonuses for doing their job, yes they might get a bonus for signing up for another tour, gut not all of them do. So, even though the staffers do work hard our tax dollars should not be paid out in bonuses, and the members who have miserably attempted to perform their duties (which they haven't done in years) should not have any ability to give out these bonuses. Sorry if I am offending anyone here but the job is not getting done up there in DC (Dysfunctiona City).

      March 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • RM

      Would you like to know the number of hours a day our troops work in Afghanistan?? Do you know how much a computer programer or truck driver makes in the civilian world. I don't feel sorry for any of these people. When they sleep under a truck on the cold ground and get shot at then give them a bonus.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Emily, I get very tired of hearing about how no one knows the pay someone else makes for their hard work. Enlighten me, I would realy love to know what that pay is and further I would love it if everyone who worked in the " sacred Halls" whether it be making copies or making laws had to punch a time clock, that way there would be some sort of documentation for this type of discussion.

      I have very little sympathy nor understanding of why it is ok to give anyone raises who works for our government at this time. My job is working for a not for profit that deals with Senior Citizens who are very very low income . I work on a salary which means I do not get paid any over time and I haven't worked less than 60 hours and more like 80 hours a week for a very long time. I work 24/7 at times and get absolutely no overtime. Most of my time is trying to explain to Seniors who make 400-600 a MONTH why they have to go to a used clothing pile to find a warm coat and it they don't find one there they have to wait, why they cannot get anymore than 30. a month to eat, why they have to come home from the hospital 48 hours after having a heart attack and why I am sitting with them when they were brought home because I am so darn afraid they are going to have another heart attack. No one pays me more, no one gives me a day off and I do not complain. I don't complain because I love my job and I love helping when I can. I know that being a intern or staff member for those in congress is probably a time consumming job because they cannot seem to make up their minds where they stand or stand for. That has got to be frustrating as all get out. But, Emily, those people who work for those on the hill are getting a education and will be able to take that experience with them to much higher levels of pay and that is a fact. I bet they get more than 30.00 a month for food too. You know Emily , the Seniors I work for got a pay raise this year on Social Security as well. People seemed to be a bit put off by that 2% raise but there is a difference. Hang on Emily because here is the truth and the difference. That little bitty 2% my seniors got did not help , it hurt. Why? Well they used to get 38 dollars in food assistance but that 2% put them over the limit into another category of poverty so now they get less. They used to get a subsidy to help pay for medicare but many lost that because of that 2% raise so deduct 110 dollars they have to now pay for medicare. Now deduct medical supplies if they are diabetic and those supplies are not covered by their little medicare policies, those run about 250 a month and now deduct their subsidized housing which is about 200. a month. Well there you have it Emily. No mom's a dad's to live with while they are " staffers" no car to borrow, no money to go get a burger or milkshake. No cable tv, no nice knew sweater or warm shoes. Now your argument could be that they didn't make enough money and who's fault is that? Ok so maybe that is cruel of me to say but the fact of the matter is that for every Sr. Citizen out there there is one male to every 3 females. Those females were home raising their children and making sure those children went to college to better their children's lives. Where are those Children now? Well, that is a good question. Most of the Seniors I know are lucky to see their children at Christmas, forget the other 364 days of the year. Heck i have one lady who's "baby" is a dentist and her middle son is a doctor, nope they do not care to come . So there you have it Emily. Why do they sit and comlain about the government all day? Why do I wonder why those staffers " deserve" a raise?
      I have one difference for you Emily and I am proud to tell you the difference. And before I forget it anyone else reading this, I am not a Democrat nor a bleeding heart liberal, I am a realist who is fed up with ALL of our government. Anyway, getting back to the difference. The Seniors that I work with are fairly strong individuals, they have already lived through the Great Depression and they were taught how to stretch a dollar. They make a mean bean and rice casserole and they love to sing and give them something to laugh about and they will show you how to be happy. The "staffers" well what can I say? I hope that between now and when they are Seniors they will learn to stretch a dollar and learn how to laugh at life's many surprises because I betcha they are going to need it more when they get to that stage in life.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rich

    I believe this is ridiculous. I think that bonuses as well as pay raises, should be awarded based accomplishments. In this case, the Government, at all levels are not doing their Job, so they shouldn't get Bonuses, or Pay Raises. In fact, I wish the people had the right to fire or demote anyone in goverment that isn't doing his or her Job.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Evan

    Has anyone ever seen how much these staffers make? It's not a whole lot. Plus staffers tend to be younger people who are swimming in piles of debt as it is. Who really cares about this money anyways? Staff salaries are not the reason for our national debt. I argue we could afford to pay them more if it meant retaining people that might actually help the problem. The counter argument of taking away the money could possible lead to staffer leaving for better paying jobs and then our Congressional members, who are already doing a terrible job, will be without quality help.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jean Deloach

    Rep. Dennis Ross, R-FL said. “I believe performance-based pay is an important incentive in the workplace..." So do I! But tell me, how does that apply to our elected officials? Have they performed well?

    March 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Black Dynamite

    "For the People Sheeple! I came to Washington to GET PAID! Where's my 40, Homey? Run it!" – Washington Politicians
    BD

    March 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Bob

    Please they are doing more with less in government, you must be kidding me, they have no idea what it is like to work in a private company where doing more with less has become the norm.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Scott

    What a bunch of crooks! Nothing but a good old boys club scam on the American people.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  40. amarjeet

    It looks as Congress is acting as a body corporate with no inputs and lack of US development and creating jobless to get bonuses for themselves which goes against principles of democracy and constitutional spirit.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Mike in SA

    We have a term for this here in Texas, however, I don't think I will be allowed to write the true words, but I'll try it this way...Bull Feces...

    March 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Wow, another cool job 2 have, lol. 25% gave their offices bonuses, Cool boss. More cool jobs in the White House, lol. Feinstein's is the coolest so far. Wonder how many people can battle uphill while doing outlines of bringing super bad people to the jails on USA soil. Intelligence must gets you places in life:)

      March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  42. GaryB

    If Congress wants to crack down on entitlements, they should start with the most egregious one – their own.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  43. TMS

    Just more proof that they are all scumbags in DC. My pay gets cut because of these jerkoffs and they give their useless staff members bonuses. Any raises or bonuses should be put on a national ballot and only if more the 85% of the voting public go to the polls and vote yes for a raise then they can have one, if not oh well try again next year and so on. I haven't gotten a raise in 5yrs and I work 10x's harder then any politician out there so does the majority of America!!

    March 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Daniell

    Well, isn't that great? I am worried about spending money on shoes today. School loans are due in about 4 months. Second year in a row that we didn't get a merit increase. They stopped the 401K match. This is total crap.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  45. ezduzit757

    My husband is a Federal employee. Nobody remembers this, but they stopped federal employees from getting a raise for 3 years, now they are going to furlough him one day a week, which is a 20% cut in what pay he was getting. I heard one of them, I think it was Kelley Ayotte saying a better way to do the sequester was to stop federal employees from getting raises even longer. I didn't hear a word about congressmen not getting raises or their staffs – or about any of them getting furloughed. I'm sick of paying the price for their incompetence.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Francisco Decastro

    This is starting to sound like the corrupt politicians of Brazil.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Ed Lizotte

    The announcement or uncovering of Congressional bonuses is disturbing on many fronts, however, what is most disappointing is that due to the budget issues and sequestration, both the Marine Corps and the Department of the Army have announced they must suspend tuition assistance to is respective service members. This is just wrong, unethical, and immoral. The budgets of each Congressman's office which include bonuses to their staff's are funded by taxpayer dollars. This is just a travesty of justice.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  48. cnnmembuh

    Even more disconcerting was BO's executive order on the eve of the fiscal cliff final negotiations which authorized $21 Billion in additional pay raises for governmental bureaucratic executives over ten years. This shows an arrogant, tone deafness which is not to be believed.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  49. wiseup

    Congressmen are passing out bonus to their staff, while at the same time some congressmen are wanting to cut benefits from Social Security , Medicare, and medicaid. I as well as most middle class citizens paid into all of our working life. At the same time the top earners feel it is unfair for them to give up some tax deductions..If Conressnen have all this extra money to pay out bonuses,they must be over paid. Perhaps they need to pay their share to help reduce the deficit

    March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Lobby for Change, people have to stop hating for whatever reason or color in order to find a common solution, working with the Gov't.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  50. iliab

    Here is an idea, though I doubt that it is new. Every two years few months before elections a national referendum is held with only one question on the ballot: “Shall the congress be fired”. If more than 60% voted yes the entire congress is reelected and fired politicians cannot run in those elections.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  51. voiceinthewind

    What a slap in the face of all American people. Throw these bums out of office and find some real people who actually want to help America and the American people instead of helping themselves to America's money.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Zwei Stein

    Hey folks ... ... Just bake yourselves some CAKE, and leave the bread alone!

    March 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  53. kenlinkmd

    "We have to pay the high bonus to keep the best and brightest" is one of the reasons given, SO, if you are paying 4 times the avg cost and cut it back to just 2 times the avg, the Best and Brightest will not take the postions? Doesn't that beg the question "are these really the Best and Brightest"? ALSO< If outscourcing to Mexico is good for the labor force due to saving 80% of the cost, why isn't outscouring good for management? (Japan and Germany pay thier CEO types 70% less the USA companies). And they tax thier CEO types much more than we do. At somepoint you feel like it is all a sham to keep the powerful in place (and with a lot of money in the bank).

    March 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zwei Stein

      Your last sentence Ken...Most people truly think that as soon as they're halfway through seventh grade.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  54. abbydelabbey

    And they get to vote themselves pay raises and perks .... like having the mafia run law enforcement....

    March 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Zwei Stein

    The hypocrisy and audacity of our Congress is such that had you not read this yourself, you'd thought I was lying. Really, you can't make this stuff up!

    March 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  56. KrjMc

    Typical – that is why we can't believe a single thing the GOP says. They say things just to make people paranoid and angry and always have to be against everything. Now the are giving huge bonus' to their staff and finding a ton of reasons to justify it. Too bad they didn't give President Obama a free hand on the sequestration, then he could have cut their pay to minimum wage, made them pay for their own insurance, and cut off their lifetime pensions like they are trying to do to everyone else in the country. Vote them out in 2014

    March 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello

      Not sure if your reading comprehension is lacking, but both parties are guilty of giving their employees bonuses.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • esoll

        That is a good question! of the 25% that gave bonuses, what is the percentage of Dem or Rep?

        March 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Yep. Bonuses came from members in both parties.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redspotz

      You did READ the article, right?! It appears both parties have been handing out bonuses. Attempt to remove your overly partisal head from your overly partisan ana| pore

      March 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texas Anne

      It was pretty evenly split (I think about 53 Republicans & 51 Democrats) so the blame should go to both parties.
      I'm sorry, but this my staff worked so hard" stuff just doesn't fly. Lots of people out there work d*** hard every day & don't get bonuses.
      And then, as in our case, we would LOVE to be working hard & getting paid, period. As it is, we're just working hard to find a job right now.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwdoubleagle

      Ummm....they tried to give him total control over ALL the spending cuts in the sequestration. He vetoed it because he doesn't want to have to make that kind of decision. Being connected to ANY decision would be a liability for him in the future.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  57. IndigNation

    Here's my response:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_v2qUmrIHI&w=640&h=360]

    March 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Jay

    So of the top 50, who spent over 96% of there budget, 34 were Democrat.
    Out of the top 50, who have the largest budget to work with, 27 were Democrat.

    Now remember, the Democrats are the minority in the House, so Republicans out number them.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zwei Stein

      Is there something you're trying to say?

      March 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Being nit-picky perhaps here, Jay, but there were 80 members who spent 96% or more of their budgets. (Though I get what you meant – looking at the Top 50, which was in the 96% range at 96.7.) Also I only count 33 Dems in the top 50 spenders.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Helen Gilbert

    Congress does nothing but hurt the people they are supposed to represent. They should give back all their pay and go home. They are all crooks. If they had real jobs, they would not be such arrogant wankers!

    March 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • murray

      where is chuck schumer??

      March 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  60. JIM

    Congress has giving them self pay raises and bonuses for the past 50 years. Even when things are tuff like the past 10 years. They still recived pay increases while the rest of us are getting pay cuts or layed off. Maybe the staff does deserve a bonus, but this is not the right time.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Jeff

    Every single part of our government has been told "Spend it or lose it". When you owe money there is none left over! The logic of "We have money left" is what has got us into this mess. Everyone should start out loosing the same percentage say 20%. The more efficient a department is the less percentage they lose. If you run 80-85% of budget you take a 10%, 86-90% you take a 15% hit. Everyone above 90% gets the full 20% reduction. Reward the more efficient not the inefficient. Not having more money cut from your budget is a reward.

    CNN should do a counter story. Ask the 25-30 members that spent less than 80% of their budget why they did that. Get the flip side of the story. Then do a third story on the differences in beliefs. Challenge each side with the logic of the other.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Desjardins

      Hey Jeff,

      This is Lisa who wrote the story. I agree with you on the idea of looking at the lowest spenders and asking why/how they did that. Good call.

      On the idea of spend-it-or-lose-it, I'd stress these members of Congress have another option: return the money to the (hemorrhaging) Treasury.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        I agree with your return the money to the treasury. I just did a poor job of stating that. Now you know why I am not writing articles for CNN 🙂

        March 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        Yes but they have made that against the law so they'd need to change their own laws. But I agree completely.

        March 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Govflak

        Your stories are always so good, and you are a great reporter.

        March 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diahann

      I worked in finance for the federal government for 9 years and the way things are set up is that an agency (not Congress) has to turn back the money they didn't spend and their next year's budget is reduced by the amount they turned back the previous year. It's a double whammy but Congress doesn't have to live by the same rules. I have worked for the state in the state I live in and it's set up the exact same way with the exception that there available no bonuses available for the people who work for the state, just the legislators and their staffs!

      March 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Diahann

        Just to let you know, the average federal and state employee (who are not management, congressional or legislative staff) work pretty dang hard and we have our pay and benefits slashed like crazy all the time. I generally work about 50-60 hours a week, doing a lot of work on my personal time, and only get paid for 40 hours no matter what. In addition to that, we have to put up with absolutely ridiculous rules and regulations set by people who have no clue what we actually do or how asinine the regulations are!

        March 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        That is why the spend it or lose it came about. I would agree their budget for the next year should be lowered but not by the entire amount they return. The idea is to get their budget as accurate as possible, not go on a spending spree to spend it all or cut them to the bone.

        March 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Peter Guild, Quincy, MA.

    They'll need the bonuses to tied them over till they can find real employment. I am in favor of firing our employees (The U.S Congresspeople, U.S. Senators, the The U.S. President). Peter Guild , Quincy, MA.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Vote them out. That is how we fire those people.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  63. GMENFAN54

    I'd rather have the Mafia running this country.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just bad

      Yes...they would be more honest.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  64. RecurveLife

    The problem with us saying, lets vote them out, is that there are so few of us that are actually informed. The people reading and posting here, plus a few others make up what 0.01%. The rest of the voting people don't read articles, don't comment, whether good or bad, they just go about their worlds and don't care. Sad, but mostly true.

    March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Still have to vote them out unless you oppose elections.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Guest

    private businesses don't give pay raises or bonuses in bad times, even for the people who work the hardest. and their employer is in some serious bad times. plus, you don't increase pay for a few while cutting up to 20% for others in the coming months. it's a matter of principle, which is apparently a foreign word to this congress. i get that these people work hard, but only the government would increase pay for anyone while hemorrhaging money.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      They do if they are the COE, and other misguided leaders that made the company what it is in the first place. Same thing here.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Wall Street firms certainly did give out bonuses in bad times. According to Forbes 79% of Wall Street employees got bonues in 2008

      March 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Roy

    Imagine having a cushy do noting job in congress and getting a large self imposed bonus to show up in Washington DC every so often to meet your buddies.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Richard Miller

    did you expect anything else from 535 hypocrites?

    March 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  68. KBW

    I keep telling you guys that voting either Dem or Rep only sends them the message that what they are doing is okay. You have to stop believing they work for us. They only want your vote and tax dollars. After that, you are expendable. Voting on issues at local levels is extremely important so as to keep the party idiots out and the issue & solutions people elected in.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Ralph

    Here we are again, our reps. bark all day long about us, we, the American people are told over and over again, tighen up your belt it's going to be a bumpy ride. But they once again don't do as they say. They've done this many times in the past and I still can't figure out why we let them do it to us. The people of this country don't have to go-nads to say anything. It always, Oh well there's nothing we can do about it anyway. Stop being a bunch of pussy's and write, call, and email your reps.. Tell them of your disapointment. Remember our Reps. have small brains so speak loudly when you call them.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jay

    So out of the top 20 sorted by apparent pay raises, 13 were Democrats.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael53

      Democratic staffers are more deserving, more efficient, and besides they voted for the prez. So they deserve the bonuses.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaybee

      If we are going to clean this up we need to stop viewing them as blue or red, and understand that they are all politicians.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  71. brown

    Quit biiiaaatching and VOTE these fools out of office!

    Have they not done enough harm to our country?

    March 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  72. patriotlou

    who cares about the congressmen what about THE PRESIDENT and all is trips AS WELL AS HIS. 2 separate planes 3 hours apart going to the same airport. GIVE a FRIGGIN break. 180,000 an hr for AF1. He still goes on all his vacations while the sequestration is going on. Yea Mr PRESIDENT you really care................

    March 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The reason you claim not to care about Congress is because it's controlled by Republicans. Obvious partisan troll is obvious.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • brown

        Congress is neither controlled by the democrats nor republicans.

        Your Congress is controlled by AIPAC.

        March 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  73. pchelp

    Assuming salaries can't be increased (why?) then a bonus is appropriate when a staff takes on extra work-such as when the number of people on the staff have been cut without reducing the workload. Unfortunately the only Congressman's response that directly says this is the reason is Diaz-Balart. The evasiveness of Ross' response leads me to disbelieve him-and Thompson's response points to the worst of government employees, those who are in 'service' strictly for the money they can make from it.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMS

      Give me a break. Being a civil service employee and not receiving a pay raise in three years and a hiring freeze for most of the same time, we, the 800,000 defense employees, also are working harder, longer hours without bonuses. Just recently President Obama signed a law that prohibited any bonus during this period so why should Congress be giving their employees bonuses.... Congress believes they can solve the budget problem off the backs of the federal employees; well, guess what, they are wrong.... The budget problem is every American citizens problem not just the federal workforce so everybody needs to feel the pain to include the Congressional staff.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Why should Congress be any different from the private sector? Headcount is cut and the work has to go somewhere, so the remaining employees end up with even more responsibilities to do in the same amount of time, WITHOUT any bonus other than keeping their jobs. Everyone is doing more with less, Congress should be forced to live by the same rules the rest of us do. Cut their staffing and office budgets to be more in line with the rest of the country.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  74. economicsgenious

    The private industry is doing the same thing every day.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Yes they are; with private money. Tax payer money should yield results for performance based pay. No budget, no bonus.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Person

        Haven't heard of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, colloquially known as the bailout of Wall Street (where they got fat bonuses with taxpayer money)?

        March 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
        • Aaron

          Oh yes I know it and I don't agree. That's tax payer money.

          March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  75. MsRaeL

    Our Government is not doing their job. Even juries get sequestered until they reach a verdict, why oh why can we not do the same with the Government. Everyone of them with the exception of the 1st years should be fired from the President on down because NONE OF THEM ARE DOING THEIR JOBS. I know and everyone else knows that if the general public did this at their place of employment, elected or no,t would have been fired and replaced long long ago. Enough is enough.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      We fire them through elections. I don't care about the uninformed, liberal, conservative crap. The only way to do it another way is to declare you do not support elections.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Joel

    Regardless of whether their bosses are capable of getting anything done, most Congressional staff members work extremely hard. They work hours you wouldn't work, and they get paid far less than their peers who have left government to work in the private sector. At any time, they could leave government and be paid 1.5-3 times more. They stay out of a sense of obligation and service, in spite of the crap they take from their bosses and from members of the public that have no idea what they actually do.

    The popular contempt for members of Congress isn't totally unwarranted, but save it when it comes to their staff.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lance

      How do you know what hours others work. These people know exactly what they signed up for and chose to take the job anyway. Maybe because they knew they would be rewarded and also the extremely generous benefits. If congress, or washington for that matter, could legislate their way out of a wet paper bag then maybe bonuses would be deserved. This just show how out of touch these guys are. Private sector is increasing productivity without increased cost. Government is just the opposite, decreasing productivity and increasing costs, at every level of govt.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Thank you Joel. Your message is spot on.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • marty rogers

      same is try for most federal workers yet their salary has remained stagnant for 3 years and are now facing furloughs and lay offs.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dusty

      Obviously Joel and Richard are, or know someone who is, a congressional staff member. A little more defensive then you need to be. No one is saying that these staffers are lazy louts, or they don't work serious hours, or that they aren't WORTH a bonus or raise. What we're saying is, virtually all average Americans are going through the same thing – most are suffering the effects of "do more with less" at work, sustained increased gas prices, soaring food costs, out of control medical coverage and everything else. But we aren’t getting bonuses or raises – why should they? They’re not any more valuable than the average American employee. If we don’t get it – the people who put us in this situation certainly shouldn’t be getting it – or giving it to their posse, no matter how hard they work for their over-privileged employers.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Uncle S

    Congress: "Do as I say, not as I do." Hypocrites one and all. Banana-republic types pretending to implement honest electoral democracy! Er ... that should read democrazy.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  78. economicsgenious

    How is this different from what the private industry has been doing to our people for the last 8 years? Mmm. Pink Slips, Lower wages, Fewer Jobs and higher Executive Bonuses. Why don't you people have the same amount of anger directed at the top executives in our country. They are replaceable as well. Its not like other people can't look at reports, shake their head and go play golf.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie402

      Because executives of big companies like you've just stated are using money that they have MADE. As an "economicsgenious" You should know that the Government DOES NOT make money. They do not sell a product or service to the consumer base. They are not a producer, manufacturer, or service. They may provide "government" jobs, such as the people that they are giving raises to, but again as an "economicsgenious" you should be completely informed that every cent that is paid into government jobs, is payed for by the American Tax Payers. You want to decrease taxes, then quit moaning about big companies who create jobs that are not paid for by the 53.6% of Americans who pay taxes.

      As for this article. I'm glad people are being informed about this. But I'm going to remind people in a easy business concept. The government like I stated before does not make money. All they do is manage the American Society. As Taxpayers, and citizens of this society, we must remind ourselves that WE are the BOSS. Not democrats, Not Republicans. We have given the reins of this country to the government and thought that we could sit back and, all would be well. That is a misconception. WE ARE THE BOSS. The manager's are not doing a good job, so what are we going to do about it? Sit and stew? Or maybe we'll log onto websites such as this and complain. Obviously that hasn't worked.

      End point being: if you don't like it, do something about it.

      March 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  79. eric286

    No one has the high ground on this. Not Democrat or Republican, Congress or the President. They’re all doing nothing except pointing the finger at the other side. And the fact that they can give bonuses to their staff while at the same time docking GS workers salary a month’s pay through furlough shows how out of touch they are.

    “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” ― Mark Twain

    March 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  80. FED UP

    This is par for the course of the stupid and moronic behavior of our elected officials. Congress needs to be cleaned up....fire everyone and let's start over!!

    March 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      I agree !!!!!!!!!. Bonuses at this time? They are the reason for the recession we have been in for several years, and as long we keep this abusers in their positions, nothing will change. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  81. John

    Letter for your representative in Congress: The budget direction set in motion for this Congress by the GOP and DNC is wrong. War with Iraq fostered by the Bush administration with Congressional authorization from fabricated and faulty intelligence was criminal. The length of our commitments to supplemental funding of two wars and deregulating our banking industry by administrations, past and present, was ill conceived and negligent. The current direction set by this administration and Congress to set austerity measures in motion by sequestration is not prudent. And GOP efforts to reign in the three rails of entitlements that the middle class has worked for, paid into, and earned is not a wise choice. Thirty years of legislating earmarks and loopholes in the tax code which was overhauled in 1986 has earned subsequent Congresses the dubious distinction of favoring a corporate welfare state and earned the disdain of middle class who continually experience the erosion of their buying power by an unequal and top heavy tax code which rewards the richest Americans that have earned this luxury through Citizens United rulings and Congressional tax code legislative fiat for those who contribute the lion’s share of cash for election campaigns. We know when the games been rigged against us and setting into motion a sequestration act that violates every tenant of fiscal flexibility to stimulate the economy and cut waste where waste resides; hurting programs and pay in the Federal Departments is just plain crazy. This is just a case of our elected officials again turning their backs on fiscal stimulus or the establishment of a fair tax code that eliminates waste where waste truly resides, rewards corporations that reinvest their cash in this economy and not overseas, invests in education rather than dismantling it, creates opportunity for middle class advances in pay and compensation, penalizes and regulates banks that play by their too big to fail rules while ignoring regulators or a justice system that just plain doesn't prosecute violations of law. What I see in this sequestration direction is mismanagement and failure to make good law. Both you and your colleagues on the hill are representatives of the people and not your party. For these reasons I intend to vote no on your future re-election efforts.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • FED UP

      Thanks for the comment. You said it very well!! I truly wish there was something, we the people, can do to actually make a difference in this country and get rid of the clowns that are now in office.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • David Grant

        Despite what it appears from the comments here, the overwhelming majority of US voters don't agree that there is a problem – they repeatedly vote for the current guaranteed gridlock. I strongly suggest that everyone vote a straight party ticket. Doesn't matter whether it is D or R; just put one of them in complete control and let them put into practice what they espouse. No gridlock, no things would have been perfect but the other party thwarted us, no fingerpointing, no excuses. By the time of the next election we'll know if their ideas are working or not and can then either re-elect them or via the straight party vote give the other side a chance.

        March 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danno T

      John

      You flat-out nailed it. Please run for office. You are my brother. Where can we go to what blog to join an army to have this voice heard?!

      March 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  82. suemac47

    Forget the bonuses! Did all of you take a look at the size of the rep's budgets?? Average well over a million a year! Add it up – 535 congressional representatives spending over $535 MILLION to support their little fiefdoms! And that doesn't include salaries and the myriad of free perks. They get free haircuts for chrissakes. Like they need that.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Will

    Yes I agree that most members of congress are wealthy, if they are not when they get there they are when they leave. I think that each member of congress and senate should have to inform their constituents, how much they pay out in bonuses,to whom they pay them to and how much. I bet we would find out that many pay a lot of family members and friends. Also just like other places of employment get the job done then think about a bonus. Maybe congress should balance the budget and then pay their salaries and bonuses out of what is left.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  84. PushingBack

    Clearly their bonus plan is modeled after the corporate executive model where you paid a good chunk even if you were not successful in your job. Meanwhile the rest of us get told there is nothing in the budget and maybe, just maybe, next year...

    March 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  85. wow

    The politicians need to be apologizing to their constituents. I know I don't have all of the facts but our elected officials are the ones who legislate the world we live in. It seems all they do is point fingers across aisles and party lines instead of doing anything to make the country a better place. The only time they seem to rally around an idea is when they are trying to garner support from "we the sheeple" to start another war. We deserve better and so does the planet.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Tychi

    Again we see how far our leaders are out of touch with those they rule. Do they really understand how bad it is? Is this another example of France's " let them eat cake" ?

    March 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Bosch

    So..They're telling us that hey had to reduce staff, for budgetary reasons, but now are giving extra money to those few who have taken on the extra work load? SERIOUSLY? So you axed someone, shifted their workload over a few other people and gave them raises/bonuses...why not just keep the staffers you FIRED? Your budget math is not working here and your lies are not doing much better. Do your damn jobs and quit telling us to tighten our belts when you're loosening your own! Do the job you were elected to do and swore you would you hypocrites.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  88. PTall

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-FL, responded, "We have not had raises or bonuses in several years. The small compensation reflects an increased workload each person had to take on after our staff was downsized because of budgetary cuts."
    Tell that to all the teachers who haven't gotten a raise in 8 years...

    March 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  89. tommy

    The staffers may deserve a bonus but the pressure to achieve legislative solutions to the nations spending and debt problems should preclude payouts until mission accomplished unless the Senator/Congressman wants to pay them out of pocket.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Every one of them understood "mission accomplished" when GW flew that banner in the background. This is on par with that, from BOTH crooks, oops, I mean parties.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  90. YEAH

    Go F'in figure!!! I work for the federal government but I am in the little man bracket even though my job is still dangerous. Of course these clowns get their bonuses when I haven't had a annual raise in over 2 years and looking at being furloughed within the next few weeks. I am pretty much ashamed I have to say I work for the government.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • SeeThruIt2

      Almost all of the federal agencies (not just Congressional staff) give out bonuses in December, and probably just prior to these scheduled sequestration cuts.

      It would be an interesting study to note how many of those government-wide received bonuses and are not facing furlough.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  91. TWE

    Congress didn't give themselves bonuses, they gave their STAFF bonuses. There's a big difference. The staff didn't create this budget mess and they aren't the ones gridlocked on how to fix it. Those who have been working hard behind the scenes get a (in a grand scheme of things) very SMALL incentive for their hardwork, and you think that's WRONG? Many are people making $30-60k per year, they are the middle class. They are not the problem with the budget...

    March 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tychi

      "Congress didn't give themselves bonuses." They did not have to because they are already getting a pay raise. A pay raise they have told us is impossible to stop.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • SeeThruIt2

      Congressmen themselves didn't write a 2,000 page ACA law. It's the staff who prepares the legislation for the Congressman to submit and sponsor.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Yeah, so what, the staffers work for the government too, I have taken on the workload due to the budget cuts, hiring freeze, and possible RIF so folks took buyouts; where's my bonus for that? What makes the staffers so more special than I? No cost of living increase, increases in everything else, hey now work with 20% less....WOW!

      March 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • TWE

        I'm not disagreeing with you (based on your post, it seems we might have similar jobs), but that still doesn't change the fact that people should get bonuses who deserve them (and that does not include Congress members at this time)...

        March 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      It's still OUR money they spent.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Stevel

    With the amount of time spent doing their job, they shouldn't even get benefits, let alone a raise.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  93. RobertOKUSA

    The first rule of leadership...Never ask your followers to endure any hardship you are not willing to endure yourself.

    March 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donnie

      Correct!!

      March 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Old Dog

    The economy continues to crawl ahead despite the GOP's absence and obstruction. But now the sequestration has gone into effect – thanks also to the GOP – that will cause job loss, pay cuts, and because of loosing 1 day / week, federal employees have their work status change from full-time to part-time and lose benefits as well. And later this month we wait for the GOP to cause the government to shut down all together. And they hand out bonuses.

    Mr Boehner – you are no leader – except to lead your GOP party to the brink of extinction. The people will vote in 2014 and you won't like it. Get ready to go back and lean on the broom in the tavern where you came from. At least you will be much less dangerous to the American people while pushing a broom in the back storeroom.

    March 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • IowaConnie

      Your wonderful Obummer is no leader either.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  95. What!!! What!!!! What!!!!!!

    This is totally bs. My wife works extremely hard under hostile conditions and haven't had a raise or bonus in three years and these losers give out bonuses. Time to vote every last one of them out of office and cancel their pensions for not doing their jobs for the last 6 years. If the common Joe did this crap, we would be fired along time ago.

    March 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  96. KEPetersen

    Why is it that most of our members of Congress are rich and wildly out of touch with their constituencies? Not for the reason most people think, but rather because we pay Congress too little.

    Counter-intutive? Yep, but think about it: We want the best, the brightest, the most successful to help run our country. We want super-achievers to leave mid-career to serve in Congress – just a few years thank you – and oblige upon them the need to own two homes, work ungodly hours, and regardless of their fidelity, integrity, or commitment, the promise of endless ridicule and accusation. And what do we offer them in return? A salary adjusted for expenses that is well below what they were earning at any top university, corporation, or association. And when their tenure is over and they return home, they face competing with others who never took a break in their careers.

    So who do we get for that value proposition? Millionaires who can afford the cost; lawyers whose firms hire them back on their return; future lobbyists who plan to trade on their votes; and crooks who pad their salaries through graft and corruption.

    Pay Congress an attractive wage and we might just get what we need: The best and brightest America can offer.

    March 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Yeah, because these outrageous salaries and bonuses work so well with Wall Street...possibly the dumbest idea I have heard in a long time.

      March 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      This is very misguided. The reason members of Congress are so wealthy is that the average Joe can't necessarily afford to run a multi-million dollar campaign. The salary in Congress is more than adequate – in fact, it's over 4x the average household income in the US.

      On your other point: " And when their tenure is over and they return home, they face competing with others who never took a break in their careers." Anyone who served in Congress will likely be in a better position when returning to the job market than someone who has nothing extraordinary on their resume. Anyone can go and work for a Fortune 500, but any company or consulting firm would love to employee former Congressmen and women.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • suemac47

      The average congressman enters the position with a net worth of around $400,000. He leaves office with a net worth averaging $4Million with a 100% retirement. Now tell me another sob story about their plight.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SeeThruIt2

      These Congressmen didn't give themselves a bonus (it's against the law). They gave their staff bonuses. Those are the same staffers who write the legislation for the Congressman to sponsor. That's the same legislation that contains their office budgets, with the excess that's available for bonuses.

      March 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadenuffyet

      If they want to serve the public , fine , make it for free and see how interested they are.

      March 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Greg

    Heck... were can I sign up? I wonder how many of the noise makers for cutting government spending STILL gave out bonuses? I think that should be the question. But I doubt anyone will ask.

    March 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  98. MaryM

    Bonuses? Are you kidding me?

    March 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  99. horsehead

    THIS COUNTRY NEEDS THE SHEEPLE TO REVOLT .............THERE NEEDS TO BE AN UPRISING LIKE THAT WHICH THIS COUNTRY HAS NEVER SEEN BEFORE.........TAKE A STAND SHEEPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caroline Brooks

      I'm with you....Lets get it started (carolinebrooks36@gmail.com), I'm in!!!

      March 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
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