In remarks potentially reinforcing signs of a divide between members of Congress and the average American, Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., was reportedly overheard lamenting his six-figure congressional salary.
According to the National Review Online, Gingrey's remarks came as a group of congressional Republicans met in the Capitol basement regarding lawmakers and their staff receiving special treatment under the healthcare reform law.
Gingrey, who is running for the open seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has introduced legislation that would eliminate government subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs who purchase insurance on an Obamacare exchange.
At the meeting, the Georgia Republican acknowledged that Capitol Hill aides are not making a lot of money in their current positions but noted that they can go on to make much more as lobbyists.
"In a few years they can just go to K Street and make $500,000 a year," Gingrey said. "Meanwhile I'm stuck here making $172,000."
NRO's Jonathan Strong said the comment incensed some of the GOP aides in the room, two of whom relayed Gingrey's comments to the reporter.
Gingrey has a net worth ranging between $3 million and $7.6 million as of 2011, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Meanwhile, U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the median household income in Georgia is $49,736 and the national median income is $52,762.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who is also running in Georgia's Republican Senate primary, was quick to pounce on Gingrey's remarks, noting that most Americans are struggling to make ends meet and battling higher health care costs.
"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," Broun said in a statement.
by RTT Staff Writer
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