US Congressman Salary and Benefits (With Duties)

Updated March 10, 2023

The U.S. Congress has the important job of representing the American people. This legislative branch shares power with the executive branch and the judicial branch of the United States. The House of Representatives, with its congressmen and congresswomen, and the Senate with its senators, make up the two divisions of Congress.

In this article, we summarize the duties of the members of Congress and provide information about a congressman's salaries and benefits.

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What is a congressman's salary?

A congressman's salary varies based on the representative's or senator's job title. Most senators, representatives, delegates and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico make a salary of $174,000 per year. Higher-level positions in Congress make a higher income. The president pro tempore of the Senate, majority leaders and minority leaders in the House and Senate make $193,400 per year.

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Primary duties of Congress members

Congress is a legislative branch of the federal government responsible for representing the people of the United States. It is the only legislative branch elected directly by the citizens of the U.S.

The primary duties of Congress, which consist of both congressmen and senators, include:

  • Making laws

  • Declaring war

  • Impeaching and trying federal officers

  • Overseeing public money

  • Approving presidential appointments

  • Approving treaties negotiated by the executive branch

  • Government oversight and investigations

Related: Writing Your Federal Resume: How To Write a Government Resume


Roles within the House

Both the House and the Senate have similar job duties. One key difference includes the House's role in initiating revenue bills. The speaker of the House explains legislative action to both Washington officials and the public. They work as the spokesperson for the political party that holds the majority in the House. The speaker also manages the House debate and oversees accounting and procurement for the House. Other roles within the House of Representatives include:

  • Congressional representative

  • Majority leader

  • Minority leader

  • Whips

  • Assistant leaders

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Roles within the Senate

The Senate ratifies treaties and approves presidential appointments for other offices and roles. The president pro tempore of the Senate presides over the Senate if the vice president is absent. They can sign legislation and issue an oath of office to new senators. Additional job roles and titles in the Senate include:

  • Party leader

  • Assistant party leaders

  • Committee chairs

  • Majority whip

  • Minority whip

Related: Requirements To Be A Senator (With Steps, Skills and Salary)


Benefits for members of Congress

Congressmen and senators receive a wide range of employee benefits and perks for serving in office. Many of these benefits depend on how long they have served in office and what plans they choose.

Here are some benefits congressmen and senators receive besides their annual salary:


Annual allowances

Members of Congress receive annual allowances that cover the personal expenses of doing their job. This includes expenses for their office, travel, goods and services. The allowance provides additional funds added to the base salary for the use of job-related purchases and costs.


Health care

Congressmen and senators purchase their insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange. 72% of their premiums are covered by a federal subsidy. When they retire, they can qualify for lifetime health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.


Pension

After serving for five years, a member of Congress becomes eligible for a pension plan. Their retirement benefits depend on their plan, age and time served in Congress. A member of Congress can collect their full pension at the age of 62 or if they are 50 years old with 20 years of service. They can earn up to 80% of their final salary, though this high percentage rarely occurs.


Family death gratuity

If a member of Congress dies while serving in office, their family can receive a payout equivalent to a year's salary. This benefit aims to ease the financial burden of the family following their loss. Each member of Congress receives this benefit regardless of age or time served.

Free parking

Congressmen have the perk of free and reserved parking in DC-area airports. They also have various flight perks. Parking and flight benefits make it easier for members to complete the required travel of the role and maintain their busy schedules.

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Other sources of income for Congress members

Members of Congress must follow restrictions on the amount of outside income they can earn while serving in office. Senators and representatives may only earn up to 15% in excess of their annual congressional salary. Federal laws prevent them from earning any income from fiduciary relationships. This rule helps prevent any conflicts of interest within Congress.

Congress members may earn income from their personal investments since the law considers them "unearned" income. This could include money made from rent, interest or stock dividends. These earnings don't contribute to the 15% rule because members in this situation collect income on assets they already own.

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Frequently asked questions

When is the last time Congress members' salaries increased?

Congress members' salaries have not increased since 2009. For many years, Congress doesn't receive a salary increase because of federal budget deficits. Exact salaries and increases can vary according to laws, location and time served.

Do members of Congress pay into Social Security?

Every member of Congress has paid into Social Security since 1984. They receive eligibility for the same Social Security benefits as all other participants. Likewise, members of Congress who have been elected after 1984 also pay into and are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). After five years of full participation, they become vested.

Do members of Congress pay income taxes?

Congress members must pay their income taxes, just like every other American does. This includes money made from their government salary, private businesses and military pay. Congress members follow the same general tax guidelines and systems as private citizens.


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