In a closed meeting today, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., who is also running for Senate, lamented that he is “stuck here making $172,000 a year” in Congress.
The comment, which was confirmed to ABC News and first reported by National Review, came at a closed-door meeting with lawmakers during a discussion about potentially reversing the Office of Personnel Management’s ruling that will continue to contribute to the health care coverage of members of Congress and their staff.
Several lawmakers expressed their concern about potentially having to pay this portion of their health care themselves if the OPM ruling is repealed.
“Before you support this, go home and talk to your spouse,” Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said reversing the OPM ruling could cost him $12,000 a year. “That’s a burden. And it’s a burden on our staff, too,” he said.
But Gingrey was less sympathetic to those concerns and bemoaned the fact that young Capitol Hill aides could become lobbyists in a few years “and make 500,000 a year.”
“Meanwhile, I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year,” Gingrey said.
Members of Congress make $174,000 a year.
At least one of Gingrey’s opponents was quick to pounce on his statement.
“While most Americans are struggling to make ends meet and battling higher health care costs, it’s disappointing that congressman Gingrey, whose reported net worth exceeds $3 million, complains about being ‘stuck here [in Congress] making $172,000 a year,’” Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who is also running for the Senate seat in Georgia, said. “Congressman Paul Broun is fighting to exempt all Americans from Obamacare, to get Georgians back to work, and to jump start the economy so that our country can return to the path to prosperity.
“Georgians needs a senator who understands what it’s like to balance a budget, not one who is more concerned with their salary than the needs and economic challenges faced by most Georgians.”
The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Gingrey’s net worth ranges somewhere between close to $3 million and $7.6 million. Meanwhile, the median household income in Georgia is $49,736 and the national median income is $52,762, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.