Recently, Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar of Minnesota falsely claimed that House Republicans had attempted to provide themselves a pay raise.
This statement caused great controversy after Omar posted it to her Twitter account on August 16th, 2019. The actual version of the bill contained a provision to raise the salaries of House members in 2021, however, Omar falsely claimed that it was proposed to take effect “immediately”.
The legislation that Omar was referencing was created on August 2nd, 2019 by Republican Congressman Mike Kelly. It proposed to raise the salaries of House members from a salary of $174,000 to $203,500 in 2021 as part of the House of Representative’s annual pay raise authorization.
Because of Omar’s misinformed claims, Republicans quickly denounced her Twitter post as being “misleading and fundamentally false”. They argued that the pay raise was “not an attempt to benefit current members” and that it was merely “a policy change proposed years in advance.”
While Omar acknowledged that she had misinterpreted the bill to mean a pay raise for the current members of the House, she still received a great deal of backlash for her tweet and it had since been deleted. Many noted how her false claims could have been potentially harmful to the Republican party as it could have reinforced the negative stereotype of Congressional members currying favor with taxpayers money.
Phillip Baker, a Republican strategist, remarked, “I have seen many political miscalculations in my day, but this one takes the cake. To make such a false accusation, especially during an election season, could end up being detrimental to the Republicans. People want honesty from their representatives.”
Ultimately, Omar’s misleading claims were quickly corrected by House Republicans who reaffirmed that the proposed pay raise only affects incoming Representatives. This situation serves as a reminder for lawmakers to always double-check their information before making any public statements.