TLP: That's Pronounced 'Bone-Us'
You know that feeling you get when you find money? A few dollars on the street or outside a store. Maybe some bills turn up unexpectedly in the laundry or your wallet. Pretty awesome, right? Now you know what it's like to be a congressional staffer.
Members of the House of Representatives reported up to $6.1 million in staff bonuses between January and March, giving out bonuses as they debated spending cuts and came within minutes of shutting down government over fiscal problems, a CNN investigation has found.The best part of the CNN report is that the bonuses come from a no-strings allotment averaging $1.5 million per congressional office. Money not spent from those allowances "stays in the Treasury and keeps the deficit at a lower level," CNN reported. Yeah, well.
At least one congressman gave thousands of dollars to his own staff as he criticized other federal workers as being overpaid.
The analysis came from a three-week look at the latest House expense report by CNN Radio's American Sauce, a podcast.
Members of both political parties reported bonuses, though Democrats outspent Republicans, with up to $3.1 million in staff bonuses compared with $908,000 for GOP members. The remaining $2.1 million CNN found was disbursed by committees. Committee spokesmen did not respond or were not able to delineate between Democratic and Republican staff members.
Staff bonuses are not a new phenomenon on Capitol Hill, but only in the past year and a half have salaries and other House expenses been released in a single online report.
The bonuses come as lawmakers on all sides demand spending cuts and belt-tightening from government. The millions in bonuses are a tiny fraction of the roughly $1.5 trillion deficit, but are a symbol of congressional spending at a time of economic struggle.
Want to know whether your representative handed out any cash? All you have to do is ask.