WASHINGTON – Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes voted Wednesday for legislation that would give Congress its first pay raise in five years.
The Senate passed the funding bill for the Treasury Department 55-45. While the bill doesn’t address a congressional cost-of-living pay hike, it traditionally has been used to block such politically sensitive increases for lawmakers.
Congress would receive an automatic 2.3 percent pay increase — from $133,600 to $136,673 — if the bill is signed by President Clinton.
The measure narrowly passed the House last week with overwhelming support from Maryland lawmakers. Only Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, opposed the pay hike.
Mikulski spokesman Rich Fiesta and Sarbanes spokesman Jesse Jacobs did not return repeated telephone calls Wednesday following the Senate vote to discuss the Maryland Democrats’ positions on the pay raise.
Party allegiance was not a factor in the vote as 29 Democrats and 26 Republicans voted for the bill, while 16 Democrats and 29 Republicans opposed it.
While more than half of the senators voted for the bill, only one-third with elections next year backed the plan. Congressional pay hikes are traditionally used by challengers against incumbent senators and House members.
Mikulski, who is up for re-election next year, won her last campaign easily with 71 percent of the vote.
The $25.4 billion bill also funds the Postal Service, White House, National Archives, Federal Elections Commission and other agencies.