How Much Senators Make in U.S. Government & the Reasons Why

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WASHINGTON D.C. — A senator is an elected official who takes part in meetings and congresses, debates over creating or updating laws as well as regulations and votes for or against certain political motions. Many senators choose their professions for the love of their country, and many may also choose their profession for the large yearly salary they receive.

So you may be wondering; how much do senators make?

Typically, a senator will make approximately $174,000 annually. During the Constitutional Convention, the original founding fathers first had the idea of not paying members of government for their efforts. This idea was abandoned, however, due to how much time is needed to be devoted to serving their country, and how that took away from their jobs that made them their living.

How much senators make annually seems to be quite high—so what is the reason for that?

There could be a few. One reason could be that it is a way to protect against fraud. A public official working in government has more power than the average citizen, and if crooked they have the potential to rob the nation of tax dollars, and do so under the table. However, we do have things such as checks and balances and laws in place to prevent these sorts of incidents from occurring. When a senator’s pockets are fully lined, there is less reason to commit fraud.

Attracting people to the job of being senator also goes hand-in-hand with how much senators make, and why it is so much.

The role of the senator can be quite daunting to an individual—their position opens up their entire personal life as well as their family’s to the public eye, and many times the senator can become under scrutiny or even threat. There is also the fact that not just anyone can become a senator; these jobs are given to individuals with a love and interest in our country and they must be highly qualified and professionally successful to receive the job.

One must also take into consideration when thinking about how much senators make that yes, they do make quite a bit; however, is it really that much? When considering how much other high-paying professions make—physicians at around $180,000, lawyers at around $144,500 and CEOs at around $170,000—it is not terribly unreasonable.

There are also benefits and allowances that senators receive in addition to their salaries. They are eligible for benefits that will all-in-all raise their income. They may possibly deduct up to $3,000 for tax purposes in annual living expenses when they are working not in their home districts, for example.

A senator is also entitled to $944,671 a year to pay for their staff’s salaries, and they also receive money that allows for expenses such as travel, mail, office equipment, district office rental, stationary and other various things needed in an office environment. In addition, senators are allowed to earn an “outside income.”

Interestingly, the richest U.S. senator in John Kerry with a net worth of $238,812,296, while the poorest is Christopher S. Murphy, a democrat from Connecticut whose net worth is just $7,502 due to student loan debt that is between $30,000 and $100,000. As a whole one can clearly see that there are definite advantages (and some disadvantages) to becoming a U.S. senator—it is perhaps a career worth considering if one has an interest in our country and public service.

Sara Venusti

Photo: Flickr

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About Author

Sara Venusti

Sara lives in Mahwah, New Jersey. Her academic interests include drawing and painting. Sara hopes to attend law school. She also enjoys politics, art, horseback riding, and hiking.

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