FACT CHECK: Does The COVID Relief And Government Spending Package Include Raises For Members Of Congress?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims the $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and government spending package includes pay raises for members of Congress.

Verdict: False

Members of Congress did not receive pay raises through the package. The bill also blocked an automatic “cost of living adjustment” which would have automatically taken effect Jan. 1.

Fact Check:

Both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21 passed a $2.3 trillion COVID-19 aid and government spending package that paired $900 billion in pandemic relief with $1.4 trillion in government funding, according to CBS News. Trump on Sunday signed the legislation, which included $600 direct payments to adults making up to $75,000, but asked Congress to vote on replacing the $600 payments for adults with $2,000 payments, the outlet reported.

A Dec. 22 Facebook post claims the package includes pay raises for members of Congress, remarking, “Part of the ‘Co vid Relief Package’ included a $57,471 raise for each member of Congress. You get $600; THEY get $57,471.” Other iterations of the claim allege the pay raise for Congress members is $40,000.

A search of the bill’s text, however, does not show any mention of a $57,471 or $40,000 pay raise for members of Congress. Furthermore, the legislation expressly states that “no adjustment” will be made for Congress’s pay through a cost-of-living adjustment. Evan Hollander, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that Congress “did not give themselves a pay raise in the bill,” but rather “blocked an automatic cost of living adjustment” which would have gone into effect Jan. 1.

In accordance with the 1989 Ethics Reform Act, congressional salaries adjustments are automatic and based on changes in private sector wages, unless the adjustment is statutorily denied, Check Your Fact previously reported. Congress has voted against pay increases since 2009, when they first instituted a pay freeze, according to Politico. Check Your Fact previously debunked a similar claim in March that falsely stated the CARES Act provided a $25 million raise to Congress.

The House voted on Monday in favor of increasing the $600 economic stimulus payments to $2,000 checks, according to CNBC. (RELATED: Did Nancy Pelosi Hide A $25 Million For Congressional Pay Raises In The House Coronavirus Stimulus Bill?)

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Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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