How Much Money Do the Members of Congress of the U.S. Make Per Year?

by David Sarokin - Updated September 26, 2017
112th Congress Convenes On Capitol Hill

When the United States Congress first convened in the late 18th century, a U.S. senator earned $6 a day. Salaries of both senators and representatives have increased steadily since then. The 535 members of the current Congress earn a sizable salary, although a few other federal officials are paid more. Certain senators and representatives are quite wealthy.

Senators' Salaries

American flag viewed between pillars of Supreme Court building

In 2011, a United States senator earned $174,000 per year. This rate was established in 2009 and was an increase from the prior salary of $169,300. In 2000, senators earned $141,300 per year.

Representatives' Salaries

112th Congress Convenes On Capitol Hill

In 2011, members of the House of Representatives earned $174,000 per year, an amount identical to the salaries of the senators.

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Leadership Salaries

House Democrats Meet With President Obama At The White House

Select members of Congress in leadership positions earn more than the rank and file. In the Senate, the majority leader, minority leaders and the president pro tempore earn $193,400 per year. In the House, the majority and minority leaders similarly earn $193,400 per year, while the speaker of the house earns $223,500 per year.

Comparison to Other Branches

President Obama Discusses Immigration Reform At The White House

The president of the United States is the highest-paid public official in federal government, earning a salary in 2011 of $400,000 a year. The vice president earns $227,300. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is paid $217,400; the other justices of the Supreme Court earn $208,100 per year.

Wealthy Members

Secretary Of State Kerry, Defense Secretary Hagel, And Their Australian Counterparts Hold Joint News Conference

Congressional salaries notwithstanding, certain members of Congress are wealthy individuals. Senator John Kerry, from Massachusetts, the wealthiest member, had an estimated net worth of $188.37 million in 2010, followed by Congressman Darrell Issa from California, with an estimated net worth of $160.05 million. At least 50 of the 535 members of Congress have a net worth of $5 million or more.

About the Author

David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.

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