The latest politician to have his name splashed across national news over something he said is Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is finding himself under fire following a meeting of congressional Republicans yesterday. On the table was the ruling that allows federal lawmakers and their staffers to get a health insurance subsidy for use in the exchange markets. Gingrey wants to see the subsidy gone (he considers it special treatment), while others argued that dropping it would create a financial burden for themselves and their aides. The lines getting all the attention, as first reported by the National Review:
- Capitol Hill aides "may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street [ie, become a lobbyist] and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile, I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year."
- At Slate, Matthew Yglesias writes that "the world's tiniest violin is playing" for Gingrey, who, Yglesias points out, is making just a smidge over the median US household income of $51,017, and will enjoy a full pension once he stops working.
- And Yglesias' figure is kind; ABC News points out that the median household income in Georgia is even lower, at $49,736; also, members of Congress make $174,000, not $172,000.
- ABC News reports Gingrey is gunning for a Senate seat, as is fellow Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun. Broun had this to say: "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]."
- He had at least one defender, though. Erick Erickson tweeted, "Good for Rep. Phil Gingrey telling Congressmen and staffers to suck it up."
- And writing for the Washington Post, Aaron Blake reminds us that this is hardly the first such "oops." He gives a few examples, like when Rep. Sean Duffy in 2011 told constituents he was "struggling" on his $174,000 salary.