Congress Dished Out $6.1M in Staff Bonuses Paychecks boosted as spending debate raged By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Jun 27, 2011 3:33 AM CDT 9 comments Comments A CNN investigation turned up $6.1 million in staff bonuses given out in the first three months of 2011, even as a debate raged about government spending. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Even as the austerity-conscious House was threatening a government shutdown earlier this year, dozens of representatives were giving their staff $6.1 million in bonuses, reports CNN. The bonuses were hard to track down, and were generally hidden as "other compensation" in expense reports, with Republicans handing out $908,000, Democrats $3.1 million, and the rest awarded by Congressional committees. "Congressional staffers earn significantly less than their peers in the private sector," defended one government analyst. But many of the bonuses were handed out by representatives who rail against excessive pay in federal government. "Our taxpayers can no longer be asked to foot the bill for these federal employees while watching their own salaries remain flat and their benefits erode," said Dennis Ross of Florida in a hearing in March, even as he gave out $8,750 in bonuses in the same month.