Can Members of Our U.S. Congress Retire With Full Pay After Just One Term? The Dirty Details!

Have You Heard That Members of Congress Can Retire After Just One Term With Full Pay For the Rest of Their lives?

Several years ago I heard for the first time that members of the U.S. Congress could serve only one term and then retire and receive their same salary from the government for the rest of their lives.

Apparently there is an email that is forwarded periodically to remind people that Congress members have incredible benefits. I was reminded of the too-good-to-be-true benefits congress members receive recently in comments left on a couple of my articles (hubs). Also a dear friend wondered out loud in a conversation we were having, if Congress members who resign before their term is up, or if they are forced to resign, also get those amazing benefits for life.

Having accepted the reality of these Congressional benefits for a long time without question like I am sure many of my readers have done, this time was different for me. For some reason a question formed in my mind as to whether or not what has become a common belief regarding this issue is in fact based in reality and truth. I decided to see if I could find the truth about Congressional benefits and pensions.

Previously I have acted on other ‘facts’ that are taken for granted as true in our society in order to determine if they were in fact, facts! For example, I wondered whether or not it is true that men really do think about sex every 7 seconds as they have been accused of doing for decades. I shared my findings with my readers in a hub titled: Do Men Really Think About Sex Every 7 Seconds?

More recently I questioned what I have heard for years about men being the better motor vehicle drivers. The title of the article that reports my surprising findings is: Are Men Better Drivers or Are Women Better Drivers?

Oh my, what a hornet’s nest I stirred up with that article about who is the better driver! So before embarking on the research for this article, which may stir the passions of some people since it is by its nature somewhat political, I took the precaution of arranging for personal security with Blackwater, famous for their policy of taking no prisoners in Iraq. They are to surround and accompany me everywhere I go from the moment this article is published. (Just joking.)

Please be aware that I am reporting my findings from reputable sources and not cherry picking those sources that agree with me. In fact, I think all of our Congress members regardless of political party are doing better than they should be given that they are supposedly servants of the people, paid with tax dollars.

As always, my references are posted both within and at the end of this article for anyone who cares to review them, and for anyone who wishes to pursue more information on this subject.

State of the Union Address 2013

President Obama delivering the State of the Union  Address February 12, 2013
President Obama delivering the State of the Union Address February 12, 2013 | Source

Terms and Salaries of Congress

As my readers know, one term in the United States Senate equals 6 years, and one term in the House of Representatives equals 2 years.

Currently rank and file members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate each receive a salary of $174,000.00 a year.

Senate and House leadership positions, such as Minority and Majority Leader, pay $193,400.00 a year each. The Speaker of the House is paid $223,500.00 per year.

All members of Congress receive a cost-of-living-adjustment, sometimes referred to as a COLA, every year unless they vote NOT to accept it. Sometimes Congress does vote not to accept the raise in order to impress on their constituents that they are tightening their belts too, but not often. Also, individual Congressmen/women sometimes turn down pay increases (Robert Longley, About.com).

Congress must vote not to accept COLAs to prevent them from automatically taking affect. COLAs became automatic for members of Congress in 1989, by of course, an act of Congress (Ethics Reform Act of 1989). Since that time Congress has voted not to accept the automatic COLA 7 times, most recently in 2011 (Robert Longley, About.com).

Is It True That a Member of Congress Can Collect Full Salary For Life After Serving Just One Term In Office?

The following information was obtained from PolitiFact.com, FactCheck.org, Snopes, Robert Longley who writes an excellent guide to government information on About.com, and last but not least, Congressional Research Service (this is a U.S. government agency).

U.S. Federal law prevents any member of Congress from receiving a starting retirement annuity of more than 80% of his or her final salary. That alone makes clear that no member of Congress is able to collect 100% of their salary if they do not serve more than one term regardless of why they did not serve more than one term. A retired member of Congress can never collect more than 80% of their final salary prior to retiring -- ever.

There are more requirements members of Congress must meet in order to receive any retirement at all. Apparently ‘red tape’ is not limited to us peasants.

To collect any retirement benefits, a member of congress must have served a minimum of 5 years and then must also meet one of the following requirements:

*A U.S. Congress member who has served fewer than 20 years must be at least 62 years of age to be eligible to collect any retirement benefits. Even then it will be based on his or her income for the years served. It will not be his or her same salary paid when still in office, for life -- more on this later.

*A Congress member may collect retirement if he or she has served at least 20 years and is at least 50 years old. His or her retirement income will again be based on his or her salary during the years served.

*A Congress member can collect retirement at any age once she or he has served for a minimum of 25 years. Again, the retirement income will be based on his or her salary for the years served.

In order to meet the minimum requirement of having served 5 years, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives would have to have served for 3 terms, since their terms are for 2 years each time.

U.S. Senators would have to serve only one term of 6 years. Remember however, that even after they meet the requirement of having served a minimum of 5 years they must also meet an age requirement of 62 years as stated above, unless they have served 20 years or more.

These requirements along with the federal law preventing any retired member of Congress from ever collecting more than 80% of their final salary makes clear that no member of Congress can retire after just one term and then begin collecting their usual full salary for life.

Who Are the Wealthiest Members of Congress?

Number one wealthiest Congressman is Republican Darrel Issa, a member of the House of Representatives from California with a net worth of 355 million dollars.


Number two wealthiest Congressman is Republican Michael McCaul, a member of the House of Representatives from Texas with a net worth of 101 million dollars.


Number three wealthiest Congressman is Democrat Mark Warner, Senator from Virginia with a net worth of 88.5 million dollars.


Who is considered to be the poorest member of Congress? It is said to be Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from the state of New York with a net worth of 166 thousand dollars.

Interesting Notes Regarding Congressional Pensions

There is one thing that may be upsetting for some people. Members of Congress who meet the requirements stated above, can and still do collect their pensions and other benefits even if they are charged and convicted of a felony while holding office. In fact, they can and do collect their pensions while serving in prison and after serving in prison for their convictions, and collect their full pensions and other benefits the entire time so long as they meet the requirements stated above (see Anderson Cooper in the reference section below for more details).

Something else that may be of interest – some members of Congress who served as state legislators before being elected to the U.S. Congress will receive a pension from both the state they represent and from the federal government too. Some U.S. Congressmen who have been in office for several years are already receiving pensions from the states they represent in addition to their salaries.

About 90 members of both Houses already collect pensions from previous service when they worked for the states they now represent in the U.S. Congress. The practice is referred to as double dipping (National Journal.com).

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate has a procedure after the death of a member where they make a gift to the deceased member’s surviving spouse and or children. This usually takes place after the funeral has occurred and is usually a gift to the surviving spouse or children of one year’s salary equivalent to that member’s salary when she or he died. I could find no hard fast rule regarding the amount of the gift, only a reference to the traditional amount given – one year’s salary.

More Interesting Stats About Our Current Congress

More than 100 members of Congress collected public pensions in addition to their taxpayer-financed $174,000 salary in 2012, according to the National Journal.


Tom Petri, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District has been in the U.S. Congress for 36 years (as of 2013) and prior to being elected to his current position he served in the Wisconsin State Senate for 6 years.

At the time Tom Petri was first elected only 5 years of service were required in order to be vested. So far Mr. Petri has collected a total of some $64,000 since 2008 in retirement payments from the state of Wisconsin while also collecting his salary from the federal government of $174,000 a year (Watchdog.org).


Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District has collected retirement funds from the state of Wisconsin from his 10 years in the Wisconsin State Assembly, in the amount of nearly $100,000 since 2008, while collecting his annual salary of 174,000 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Watchdog.Org).


Only 1% of all American citizens are millionaires, but 47% of Congress members (or 249 members) are millionaires (ABC News). Forbes disagrees and says that 261 members of Congress are millionaires.


In 2010 the average median net worth of a Senator was 2.56 million. Even those members of Congress who are not millionaires are at least financially comfortable while many of their constituents who must contribute to their salaries are not (Center for Responsive Politics, reported by ABC News).

How Congressional Retirement Income Is Determined

The pension of a retired member of congress is determined by averaging their salary for the 3 years that his or her salary was its highest while a member of congress, and then multiplying that number by the number of years served. That number is then multiplied by 1.7 for their first 20 years in office. If they have served more than 20 years, the number of years over 20 is multiplied by 1.0.

“A three-term congressman (or one-term senator) who has reached retirement age [62 years of age] would be eligible for an annual pension of $17,588 for six years of work,” (PolitiFact.com). That is the amount their retirement income from congress would be if they started collecting in 2011.

Members of congress pay 1.3% of their salary into their retirement program. Rumors that members of congress do not have to contribute anything to their own retirement program are false. For a more detailed explanation of the different retirement programs available to Congress members visit Congressional Research Service and or Robert Longley at the links here provided.

According to PolitiFact, a rank and file member of Congress who retired after 25 years of service in 2011 would average about $67,249 per year in benefits. While this amount is not even half of what the gossip suggested it was, it is still a fair amount of money compared to what most people will get when they retire.

Most people will get Social Security and nothing else, and often that Social Security is not very much. I know people who get as little as $325 a month. Not enough to pay very many bills. Many people on Social Security have to decide if they will buy food, buy necessary prescription drugs, or pay the electric bill.

Our Congress is doing pretty well salary, benefits, and pension-wise, compared to most of our population, and their pensions are coming in part from people who cannot afford to pay their own bills.

Given the comparatively high pensions members of congress will receive in retirement, it seems a little impertinent that they are telling people their Social Security benefits will have to be cut back, especially when people are at an age when they cannot make arrangements to offset their loss of Social Security benefits even if they wanted to.

Most people nowadays have to work to supplement their Social Security and their pensions if they are lucky enough to get a pension. What happens if a person is unable to work which will happen at some point as they age?

Given that many people become millionaires after they are elected to Congress it would seem that they are getting a lot of benefits that we who hired them, have not, and are not, being informed about.


Do Members of Congress Pay Social Security Taxes?

Amendments to the Social Security Act in 1983 required federal employees who were hired in 1983 to begin paying into the Social Security program. Members of Congress, regardless of when they first became members of that body were required to begin paying into the Social Security Program on January 1, 1984. Members of Congress pay 6.2% of their salaries into the Social Security Program (Robert Longley).

Medical Benefits for Members of Congress

Beginning in 2014, members of Congress and their employees (office staff, etc.) will get their medical insurance through the Health Insurance Exchanges set up for the Affordable Care Act better known as ObamaCare.

The Health Insurance Exchange boards set up in every state will offer a variety of plans at different prices, presumably something affordable for everyone. To learn more about ObamaCare and how it will work, I recommend that you visit this website that explains who is not required to purchase health insurance as well as many other facts about The Affordable Care Act. Not everyone will be required to purchase insurance nor will everyone be fined if they fail to do so. Get the facts.

Other Benefits U.S. Congress Members Receive

Congress members are each allowed a $3,000 federal tax deduction for their living expenses away from their homes in their congressional districts.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives receive an average of $1,353,205.00 to cover expenses for doing their job including an office, staff, and the cost of operating that office. For more details I again refer you to Robert Longley.

Members of the U.S. Senate receive an average of $3,209,103.00 for the purpose of maintaining their office and paying staff, etc. Again, for more detail on exactly how this allowance is determined and exactly what it covers and what it does not cover, follow the link provided above. Not all members of congress receive the same allowance and to learn why, check Mr. Longley’s excellent explanations.

What Do You Think?

How do you feel now that you know the truth about U.S. Congress members pensions and retirement benefits?

  • They are still too high even if it isn't there full pay for life!
  • So long as what they're doing is legal it's OK with me.
  • It's deplorable that Congress members are getting so much when ordinary citizens are having their Social Security benefits cut!
See results without voting

Our Senators At Work

The U.S. Senate Chamber
The U.S. Senate Chamber | Source

Why Do People Readily Accept Questionable Information as Fact?

It is interesting that people are so willing to accept something that comes to them from a completely unknown source, such as a forwarded email. Yes, you probably know the person who forwarded it to you, but how much do you know about the person who originated the contents of that email? Anything at all?

Did you, or the person who forwarded the email to you take the thirty seconds (yes seconds) it takes in most cases, to check the validity of the claims in that forwarded email? Just wanting the accusations in an email to be true will not make them so.

I frequently receive forwarded emails on political issues from many different people and sometimes I take the time to verify the claims in them. Often the claims are so obviously bogus that I do not bother to verify them. Neither do I forward them on.

To forward an email to other people is to say that one agrees with it and supports it. People who engage in this practice are putting their own reputations on the line.

If I do not know for a certainty that what is included in a political or informational email is accurate and factual, then I am spreading what may be misinformation. In many cases it is not just misinformation, but blatant lies.

If I forward an email of questionable character, I am allowing myself to be used by a particular person or party to gain political advantage through misleading, and/or lying, to people. In most cases the people that receive that misleading email are my friends and family.

If a person is enabling and helping to spread misinformation, do they really have a right to complain about how the people running our government or other agencies are taking unfair advantage of constituents or tax dollars?

For some reason many people are extremely gullible to anything in print or anything they hear on television or on radio. It never occurs to many people to verify what they have heard and I believe that speaks to why this misinformation spreads like wild fire in the first place.

I recommend my article titled: How Do You Know If Information Is Accurate? How to Evaluate Information Sources.

Sources for This Article

One Fifth of Congress is Double Dipping

http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/nearly-one-in-five-members-of-congress-gets-paid-twice-20130627

http://www.politifact.com/rhode-island/statements/2011/may/29/chain-email/email-message-says-members-congress-get-full-pensi/


About COLAs

http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2009/01/03/congress-getting-a-pay-raise-how-about-you.htm


Watchdog.Org On Whose Double Dipping

http://watchdog.org/98511/packing-on-the-pensions-wi-reps-collect-state-retirement-on-the-federal-dime/


My Daily News on Millionaires in Congress

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/darrell-issa-richest-congressman-355-million-article-1.1431618


Pay and Benefits of U.S. Congress

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congresspay.htm


Anderson Cooper on Congress pensions even though felons

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2007/01/convicted-congressmen-collect-public.html


Survivor benefits for Congress member’s wives/children

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34347.pdf

© 2013 C E Clark

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Comments 99 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 11 months ago from North Texas Author

Larry Wall, thank you again for your continued interest in this subject and taking time to add information to this article.

I recommend the following reading: ECONOMY & GOVERNMENT

Governor's and State Legislator's Retirement Benefits – You May Find This Shocking -- Sit Down Before Reading!

While much of the double dipping isn't illegal, some is borderline. My research shows most of the offenders are at the state level.


Larry Wall 11 months ago

You will find double dipping and abuse at all levels of government. The main point is to separate those that cheat or take advantage of loopholes from those that don't.

Retirement benefits are tricky. In my state, a teacher can work 20 years and receive benefits at age 55. However, if he or she started working at 22, their benefits become available at 55, resulting in a 13 year gap. The teacher gets another job. He or she works 20 years on that job and becomes eligible for Social Security. Benefits are a complicated path, especially at the state and local level. I applied for work with my city government and state government several times and was turned down for unstated reasons. I had enough credits for Social Security but was too young to draw benefits. Had I got a government job the benefits would be a fraction of what Social Security pays me.

Simply stated, there are a lot of variables around benefits, My state allows a veteran employee to retire, start benefits and then return to working the following day at a slightly lower salary. It is a nice perk, but one that probably should be eliminated. However, while the employee may get extra benefits, the state may save money because the contributions to the second retirement package may be lower. There is always room for improvement, but there are a lot of steps involved.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 11 months ago from North Texas Author

Larry Wall, thank you for taking the time to write out your very thoughtful comments. I tend to agree with you. I really think the elected officials (as well as some state workers who are appointed or hired) take far more advantage of tax payers, at least where wages/salaries and specified benefits are concerned. Our U.S. Congress may be getting benefits we aren't informed about, probably are, but so far as their remuneration is concerned, it doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

I have another article that delves into state officials salaries/benefits and double dipping, and that's another matter. I think that is where the tax payers are really getting the shaft.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 11 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W., thank you for shedding some light on this issue. This does involve politics, but my purpose for writing it was more for people to understand what the retirement situation really is for our Congress and other elected officials. There is so much misinformation out there it's unbelievable, yet that is what many people choose to believe anyway even though it is wrong. I still say the people who are really cleaning up by double dipping and more, are the state elected officials, and in some cases state employees.


Larry Wall 11 months ago

How much should a congressman be paid? Some would say nothing--it is a service--that would limit the pool of candidates to the millionaires or those who get kickbacks from supporters.

In my last job, I had an excellent benefit package. It was eroded away and eventually. I got my walking papers.

You have to pay your bills, and you give up a lot regarding your family.

Are some reforms needed? Yes, changes are needed.

Are the benefits the members of Congress receive unreasonable? No, in the overall picture, the benefits are not out-of-line.

The important thing is to elect people to Congress who will work for the overall betterment of all people and not be puppets of any political party.

George Washington warned against the development of political parties. He was right. Without an attractive benefits package, we will never get free-thinking majority in Congress.


Larry Wall 11 months ago

A one-term representative, will not receive any benefits. It takes a while for representatives to acquire benefits. The time frame is shorter in the Senate because they are elected to longer terms.

My question is based on the amount of opposition I have read whear and other places, what type of retirement compensation package should a Representative or Senator receive. People keep putting them back in office, and as they do their benefits increase.

How should retirement benefits be calculated and should there be a cap, but will there be any adjustment in the cap to account for inflation.

Anyone can run for Congress, but campaigning is expensive, and while many of the expenses are covered, everything is not. Thus, should the mechanic give up his business to run for office in the hope of making more money.

I favor term limits, that would solve a lot of the problems, but that will require a constitutional amendment, which is not going to happen in my lifetime.

The benefits (or perks if you prefer) that congressmen receive is an issue, but it is not the major issue facing our economy.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 11 months ago from Houston, Texas

Sharing this once again. Since we are in the midst of another political season with people battling hard for the Presidency as well as other seats in local, state and federal positions...it is no wonder that it is such a battle to win. Putting this together with the other political articles you have written, it is certainly an eye opener!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for coming by and for thinking of me. God bless you. Glad you like this article.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for coming by and for thinking of me. God bless you. Glad you like this article.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Paula (Fpherj48), thank you for your comment, the votes, share, Tweet, and Pin. I really think it's most of the state elected officials who really clean up more than the federal elected officials. Many of them are double dipping.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 17 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Au fait.....Well now, isn't this "Special"....for THEM anyway. I may be able to better swallow this bitter pill if the majority of OUR Representatives actually EARNED (Deserved) this kind of money.

Bless you for putting this together for our information and right to know, C.E. I'd have been gritting my teeth the whole time.

Am I sorely disappointed is our Congress? Oh, just a tad.....UP+++

shared, tweeted & pinned.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Reynold Jay, thank you for coming by. The salaries, more than 172,000 a year, are peanuts compared to the bennies and power one can gain over time just from holding the seat.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 17 months ago

Au fait, I just came back to re-read this wonderful article and share it again.

I hope all is well with you

Blessings and hugs dear friend.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 17 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

A friend of mine summed it up. These people are in it for the money and self interest. Everything else is of little concern. Great article.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Calgaltx, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I have heard of different members of Congress or members of their staff going to work as lobbiests because it is very lucrative. They know the right people and know how to get access if they don't already have it

I think our Congress would work better for the people who hired them (tax payers) if no lobbiests were allowed. They are clearly there to benefit their employers (and themselves) and not the taxpayers or the country. If you notice our congress members and other elected and appointed officials are getting more and more corrupt as time goes on. Anything for a buck. Congress members sell themselves pretty cheap sometimes.


Calgaltx 18 months ago

Au Lait, I have a suggestion for a future column...you wrote about the 47% officials in the Peoples' House. What were their salaries when they were elected? Lobbying for business interests must have brought contacts for freshman in The Houses of Congress thereby multiplying income. Yes, I know it is illegal but, I think that being illegal did not stop many cabinet members from dipping into those pots of green honey. What are your ideas about cabinet members increasing well through their election to the Congress?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 19 months ago from North Texas Author

Larry Wall, thank you for taking time to read and comment on this article. I think we agree on pretty much everything you wrote. I don't really think our U.S. Congress is milking the system so much as the state elected officials and a few of the state employees too. They are double dipping the worst.


Larry Wall 19 months ago

Au fait

I was browsing some hubs and found yours which I had read previously and had two points to make but did ot get around it it, so I will try again. I am not suggesting that the salaries are too high or not high enough. However, it is the equivalent of a full-time job, with good perks. A former boss was a three term member of Congress. His wife and children did not move to Washington. He few home every weekend at his own expense. Secondly, he ran for the Senate and lost. Yes, he received some contributions, but he also borrowed a lot of money, which he may still be repaying. I would be the first to agree that the practice of double dipping for public retirements needs to be addressed. If they become eligible for Social Security, they probably will not get it, because there is a limit on how much other income you can have and if that other income equals either all or 1.5 times, there will be no benefit. Also, the Congress has gotten into the habit of working a three-day week. That would merit an examination of the salary and benefits.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 24 months ago from North Texas Author

Perspycacious, thank you for stopping by! I fear you are probably correct.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 24 months ago from North Texas Author

Perspycacious, congress members will probably do exactly as you say. It isn't just congress that double dips, however. Regular state employees do it too. Sometimes it adds up to several hundred thousand dollars. Thank you for taking time to read and comment!

I know I'll be responding to another of your comments soon, but I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas now. One never knows what the future holds. I hope it holds a wonderful Christmas for you and yours, and a happy and healthy New Year to follow!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 24 months ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you dear friend for commenting, voting, and sharing this article!


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 24 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Presumably, now that Congress has been paying that 6.2% of their salaries into Social Security, they may eventually also draw Social Security retirement funds, making them "triple dippers"? They will have enough creditable quarters, if they worked before and during time as state legislators, so let's presume they can eventually draw Social Security retirement, and after age 70 can also earn as much as they will, without those earnings diminishing their draw from Social Security. Wow!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 24 months ago

I just came back to read this again and share with followers.

Everyone should read this.

Voted up, UAI and shared


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for coming by Glenda. Always good to see you and I hope everything is well at your house. Yes, politicians have a knack for looking out for themselves, but I must tell you the state politicians are the worst. They are the ones who double dip and that often comes to way more than what most members of the U.S. Congress get. They all get way too much if you consider the situation most tax payers are in.


Glenda 2 years ago

This is very upsetting to me. these people in our congress and senate make sure to take care of themselves don't they?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by MG Singh.

Taking advantage of taxpayers and constituents is not a natural part of democracy. Democracy mainly means that the majority rules. Congress members are a long way from being the majority in a population of 317 million people.

Yes, what is happening with our elected officials is common, but that doesn't make it right. We the People have the ability to change things we do not like. That is one of the advantages of a democracy.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for your comments, the votes and share. You are so right in that many members of Congress are trying to make working class and poor people scapegoats for their own greed. The next one will be out soon. Blessings to you and John also.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

Such rules are everywhere. Nice post. By the way this is part of "democracy"


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, everyone needs to read this, so they know just what a career politician is and how they milk the system, all the while saying how poor people are milking the system.

Voted up, UAI and shared.

Thank you for writing this and can't wait for the next one.

Blessings to you my dear friend

Shyron


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, Thank you for taking the time to pin this article and share your thoughts. As you know from this hub congress members get automatic raises to their retirement every year without any fanfare so that we taxpayers notice it. I'm about to publish another similar hub, this time on state elected and appointed officials and hourly employees. The elected state officials are the ones who really clean up.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

Sharing this once again Au fait and pinning to Awesome HubPages. Sadly I do not envision anything changing in the foreseeable future.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you, Shyron, for sharing your thoughts. Term limits are unconstitutional whether for state elected offices or federal elected offices. Our Supreme Court ruled on that way back in May 1995. If you want them really badly, you could try to pass an amendment changing the Constitution of the United States. Good luck with that.

All Congress members and elected officials are already subject to term limits. All people have to do is get up off their pitooties and go to the polls on election day. If enough people agree that it's time someone be voted out and they do their civic duties to see that it happens (vote), that elected official's term will be limited then and there. Very simple.

It's been my observation that most people want term limits for the elected officials they don't like. Republicans want term limits for Democrats that are confounding their plans, and Democrats want term limits for Republicans who are confounding their plans. No one really wants term limits for elected officials they are happy with.

I have never heard a Democrat say they want term limits for any elected Democrat, and I have never heard any Republican say they want term limits for any elected Republican. Unless of course that official is a blue dog. I have no use for blue dogs -- I'd rather have the real McCoy. At least they're not pretending to be something they're not.

All people have to do is go to the polls and vote when the opportunity to do that presents itself. If enough other voters are in agreement, the incumbent will have their term limited to time served.

I remember how one of my brothers hated Ted Kennedy, yet Kennedy continued to get re-elected over and over again. My brother lived in MN, and of course Kennedy was a senator from MA. My brother couldn't understand why Kennedy kept getting re-elected. He saw Kennedy as a womanizer and a drunk, and an embarrassment to his office and our nation. Clearly the people Kennedy served, the people of MA, didn't agree with my brother from MN. Kennedy took good care of his constituents and they appreciated him in return. My brother wanted term limits in order to get Kennedy out of office. He didn't care what the people of MA wanted for themselves.

I can think of a lot of people in elected offices that I believe should have their terms limited to no more than 5 seconds. Yes, that is really way to long, but I want to be reasonable.

Everyone wants term limits for the officials they don't like or don't agree with. Trouble is, people often can't agree on who those officials are. My brother wanted Kennedy out, yet he couldn't vote for or against him. Kennedy didn't serve MN, and why should my brother have a say in who gets to serve the people of MA? Would he also be willing to let MA voters have a say in who serves the people of MN? MA tends to be blue and MN tends to be red. Wonder how that would work? ;)

Since we can't all agree on who should have their term limited, why not just use the system we now have, and have had from the inception of this country? Oh, I'm sure my brother could have found a lot of people in MN to agree with him regarding Kennedy, but why should someone who doesn't even live in a state have anything to say about the officials of that state? Especially when the voters of MA were sufficiently satisfied with Kennedy's record to keep electing him?

I see limiting terms of senators and representatives in states we don't live in sort of like giving our sons and daughters-in-laws term limits when we don't approve of our children's choices. I always tell my daughter that if she can put up with him (she's never been married) day in and day out, I can put up with him for the few visits he's likely to make to my home on special occasions. And don't forget, he has to put up with me too, so it's a two way street.

Even if we had term limits, say in TX, you would only get rid of one Republican and s/he would be replaced with another one. The main difference, if any, being their height, weight, hair color, eye color, skin color, sex, gender, etc. Their policies would be the same and no change would come to TX. You could end up getting rid of good 'ol Joe Barton and in his place a Michelle Bachmann clone. What's the point?

When our Supreme Court ruled that money is the same as speech, they opened the flood gates to bribes beyond your imagination, and those bribes go to freshman congress people too. Believe me, their meager salaries of 172,000 to 225,000 plus bennies is nothing compared to what big business pays them, and our Supreme Court ruled that it was OK for big business to do that.

So, do you think these members of congress are working for us? We who can't afford to send them thousands of dollars? They don't care what we think. They care about which side of their bread the butter is on, and it isn't on the side of the people. Term limits wouldn't solve that problem even if you could get an amendment through congress and get every state to sign off on it, as required.

The SCOTUS ruling needs to be overturned and new laws put in place regarding how much corporations and other BIG organizations can put into campaign funds, and especially PACs. Term limits are meaningless until that is done.

Thanks for the votes and share.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, I is a great hub, it should help people to understand what goes on behind the scenes (behind our backs) and look a little closer at changing our term limits for these people who are there to make as much money as they can as fast as they can and the people they represent is the ones handing the kick backs.

Voted up, UAI and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for sharing this article. There will be plenty of Congressional races with the midterm just a few months away. Will be interesting to see how that goes . . . and it won't be long before the presidential campaigns will be getting underway again too. Probably right after the midterm elections are over and the time between now and then will pass quickly.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

Since we just had the State of the Union address last night, I thought Congress and the upcoming Congressional races may be on the minds of people. This is a great time to share this again!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you WriterJanis for reading and sharing your thoughts on this issue. Indeed, it is even sadder that these Congress people who are sitting pretty are the very ones who are cutting social programs like food stamps because the believe people have too much.


WriterJanis profile image

WriterJanis 2 years ago from California

I knew that politicians made good money, but I had no idea that they made this much along with so many benefits. It's sad to think there are so many homeless people in this country who can't get help, but members of the government are sitting so pretty financially. Voted up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Vespawoolf, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

This information just makes me angry!! It´s a sad commentary on the political corruption that exists in any country. Thank you for making us aware of this. I hope some changes are on the horizon.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Deborah-Diane, thank you for bringing attention to this article. Yes, it is prophesied that there will be some major changes and shake-ups in our Congress in the 2014 elections unless our extremely unpopular congress straightens up and starts doing something besides bickering for their exorbitant pay.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for stopping by, voting on, and sharing this article. It's is unbelievably unpopular. Apparently people don't want to know the truth, they just want to spread untruths and complain.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

2014 is going to be a major election year, with significant seats in play in both the US Congress and the Senate. People need to read some of the articles you have about our American political system. They are well-written and informative.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

This needs to be read Au fait, by every American that cared how this country is run.

Voted up, UAI, and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake, for pinning this article!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I just had to come back to pin this hub. Very interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for the votes, the share, and for being so supportive -- and for being my best friend!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

This is so informative Au fait, I had to come back and share it again, in case someone missed it.

Voted up, Awesome, Interesting and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Indian Chef for commenting on this article and for voting on and sharing it with your followers -- and on Twitter too!

Just recently our members of Congress who are paid a minimum of $172,000 a year plus benefits (some like the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, and others make even more than $172,000 a year) cut the Food Stamp program by more than 40 BILLION dollars. Most Food Stamps go to the elderly and to children. How can anyone with a conscious deny these people food when they are themselves basking in decadence?


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

I know how it feels. It is same in India too where any member of parliament for 5 years is entitled for pension whole life. Also they get free telephone ( which the bill can run in 1000s) , travel in train and planes and lots of other things while they keep taxing the common person more and more. They themselves raise their pay. When ever they have to raise pay , it is passed in parliament in one minute while they fight like dogs and cats when something of national importance is up and would try to sabotage it.

Sharing it here and on twitter. Voting it up and amazing and useful


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane for sharing this article again!

I think some people would rather complain and if knowing the truth negates that pleasure, they do not want to know the truth. Also, a lot of people find it takes a lot less time and exertion to accept whatever they hear. Even when they aren't sure of something and want to believe it isn't true, they won't bother to research it and find out one way or the other. Too much work. Ignorance takes very little effort . . . ;)


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

I am re-sharing this since, just yesterday, I saw once again the absolutely UNTRUE Facebook post that keeps getting sent around that claims that members of Congress can get 100% of their salary for the rest of their lives. It is so aggravating that people would rather believe a lie than do any research for themselves. Thanks for checking this all out and providing the correct information.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you freefogging, for reading and commenting on this article! I think all Congress members should have their pay cut out completely for the time our government is shut down and no back pay when they start it up again either. Then we'll see just how often and how long they decide to do something like this.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Deborah-Diane, thank you for your super high praise and for sharing this article. I always list my sources and try to be even handed with what I write. If it's not based in fact, I try to warn people by labeling it as opinion.

I think when Congress shuts the government down they should not be paid, just like other workers who are laid off and receiving no paycheck. I also think they should get no backpay when they finally resolve their differences. I think they wouldn't be so quick to shut things down if it meant shutting their paychecks down too.

I received the Hubbie Award for hubs most likely to go viral, and that is why DDE said what she did. I hope this one will go viral! :)


freefogging profile image

freefogging 3 years ago from Florida

Great hub!!! Those children in Congress should have their salaries, pension...everything at least cut in half!! They do nothing and still get paid for it. I would get fired if I did nothing! There must be something us people can do!!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

I agree with DDE that your hubs are the most likely to go viral! I am sharing this again because there is so much misinformation about Congress, especially after the recent crisis. I think people need to know the truth ... and I consider you a reliable source.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

DDE, thank you for the congrats, and for stopping by! Hope you found this article interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you danthehandyman, for reading and commenting on this hub!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Congratulations on being chosen as Wining the Most Likely to Go Viral Award, lots to ponder on here with all of your hubs always something to figure out or be helpful about. Well done!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

PegCole17, thank you for checking this article out! Yes, I pointed out that even though the retirement benefits aren't quite so lofty as rumored, they are still pretty nice and as you say, far better than most people can hope for.


danthehandyman profile image

danthehandyman 3 years ago from Maryland

Oops, same numbers too, by gosh. I glanced over that section because your Hub was so stimulating at that point I was wondering what other benefits they receive. You read my mind and provided the stats. Sorry I missed it. Interesting Hub.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you danthehandyman for stopping by and leaving a comment. I guess you didn't quite get to the section titled "Other Benefits U.S. Congress Members Receive." I have all of what you have put in your comment in that section. I invite you to read again and see what else you may have missed. ;)


danthehandyman profile image

danthehandyman 3 years ago from Maryland

Nice Hub, great research. In additional to salary, House members have an office expense account. The 2012 allowances range from $1,270,129 to $1,564,613, with an average of $1,353,205. The Senate members allowances range from $2,960,716 to $4,685,632, depending on the state. The average allowance is $3,209,103. These details and a complete explanation of Congressional compensation can be found at http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?p...


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

PegCole17, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Agree, as stated in this hub, that compared to most people, our congress members have got it pretty good even if it isn't as posh as rumored.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Nell Rose, thank you for sharing the habits of your politicians in GB that are so very similar to the politicians here in the U.S. Very much appreciate your voting and sharing this article too!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Paul Kuehn for reading, commenting on, voting on, and pinning/sharing this article! If you don't already understand gerrymandering, you might want to check my hub out about that since it plays a big part in keeping a particular party in the majority and specific politicians in office.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Dennis AuBuchon, thank you for reading, commenting, voting on so generously, and sharing this article on FB, Twitter, and for pinning it!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for reading, commenting on, and sharing this article! Yes, politicians have a definite incentive to get elected and to keep their seats as long as possible and it has nothing to do with their constituents -- other than we pay for it. Their perks are definitely well beyond what most ordinary middle and below classes receive. Way beyond!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Interesting facts that dispel some of the myths about Congressional benefits. Their retirement package is still a Cadillac of a program compared to most what most businesses offer. Nicely presented information, Au fait.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Au fait, coming from England this is all above my head really, but the one thing that seems to have a thread through it is the fact that over here our government always has their hands in tax payers money. whether they get pensions or not and whether it carries on for life, really doesn't bother them because they claim for houses that they don't have, they take money out of our taxes for 'jollies' as we call them, in other words going abroad on holiday just to have a 'meeting' and its known that they take 25o pounds/325 dollars a week at least each for their lunch! power seems to make them more greedy, voted up and shared! nell


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for pinning and sharing this hub and for your loyalty and support!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Au fait,

This is an awesome, well-researched hub which I find very useful and interesting. Considering the benefits that Congressmen and Congresswomen get, is it any wonder that their primary concern while serving is to do whatever they can to get reelected? Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago

This information presented in this hub is great. It provides a better understanding of what those in Congress earn and the retirement benefits. It dispels falsehoods which is a great thing. I voted up, useful, awesome, interesting along with liking, pinning and tweeting


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading and sharing this article with others as well as sharing your thoughts on this issue with me and my readers. Agree with you, especially on the SS cuts!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you mperrottet for reading, voting on, and sharing this article and for sharing your thoughts. Very glad you find this article useful. I think at least half of the reason why our world is such a mess is that people are acting on false (out and out lies) and/or misinformation.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

byshea, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this article! I am honored to say that this is an Editor's Choice hub, and I'm so glad you like it.

Actually, I've already written about that condition you are wondering about . . . read my hub titled: Toxoplasma gondii: People Are Being Controlled by Tiny Parasites in Their Brains!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Tillsontitan for reading, voting on, pinning and sharing this hub! Also for your high praise, which means so much coming from you when you are such an excellent researcher/writer/hubber yourself!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Excellently researched hub and I plan to share, tweet and pin to get the correct word out regarding retirement benefits for our Congress. It is no wonder they battle hard to get those positions! Once elected it is hard to unseat them as some of your other articles have illustrated and they certainly have great benefits!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Lifelovemystery, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this important issue. There is a good deal of wisdom in what you say. You would probably find my article about gerrymandering useful in understanding why some politicians and political parties manage to stay in power in a particular state for so many years.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you jainismus for reading and commenting on this article. There's nothing wrong with a good pension in itself. The problem is when it is not reasonable and the citizenry are expected to pay for it and many of those tax payers can barely take care of themselves and/or their families. Private companies can do what they will, but public servants are another matter. Serving one's government should not be a means of becoming rich. The profit should be in making the country better for themselves and everyone else. The profit should not be incredible wealth.

Here in the U.S. the people are the government, but many people are apathetic. They don't want to exert themselves to try to make a difference. In some cases they believe they are at the mercy of politicians and can do nothing about it. They are the exact opposite of our founding fathers who were very political and in your face when it came to making what they believed were necessary and worthwhile changes. You can bet Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock and the others who signed the Declaration of Independence at the literal risk of their lives didn't sit back and say, "There's nothing I can do about this or that." When people band together with determination they can achieve amazing things, but it does require effort.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Kathleen Cochran. I like for my readers to be able to check my references for themselves and learn additional details if it pleases them to do that. I don't expect anyone to simply take my word for what I write. I think too many people do accept anything in print and on radio and TV without question, and that is why there is so much confusion and misinformation floating around.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Shyron. I, too, like moonlake's idea. It's time to bring our people and our money home and put everything and everybody to work building our own country back up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Shyron. I, too, like moonlake's idea. It's time to bring our people and our money home and put everything and everybody to work building our own country back up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Moonlake, thank you for reading, voting on, and sharing this hub with your followers, and for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you, except I would have any president, I don't care which party he is in, lead the charge if s/he chooses to go to war. Just as in the long ago days when the king led the charge, I think if presidents led the charge and were the first target available to the enemy, they would think a little harder and longer before leading us into these wars.

Also agree that we do not provide as we should for our active military nor do we take care of our veterans as we should. There is no excuse for so many homeless veterans.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Lifelovemystery, agree with what you say. Sadly, our veterans often do not get nearly the compensation they should, and worse, find themselves homeless and living in the streets when they get back, their sacrifices quickly forgotten and no longer appreciated.

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

This is to good not to share, Pin and vote up

Everyone should read it.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron for reading, commenting on, and voting/pinning/sharing this article!

The federal government should not be paying for state legislators salaries. Since U.S. Congress members represent their states on a federal level their salaries are paid by the federal government.

Double dipping simply means collecting a pension from the state members of congress represent while also collecting a salary for the federal level jobs.

No, it is neither legal nor ethical to work as a lobbyist for any non-government entity when one is serving in an elected or appointed position on any level of our government. One may not have divided interests which is why people who become president must place their investments or interests in a blind trust if and when they are elected. To lobby while serving in an elected or appointed position may result in a criminal conflict of interest.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Thank you once again for clearing up some common misconceptions. People constantly pass lies around on Twitter, Facebook and other internet sites. I believe our elected officials are entitled to receiving a pension after serving honorably for a long time ..even the ones who have different political beliefs from mine. I do object to them getting a pension if they have gone to jail. At the very least it should be discounted heavily. I also think their pensions shouldn't be quite so high when they are cutting Social Security! Definitely sharing this info with others.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thelyricwriter, thank you for reading, voting on, and sharing your thoughts on this issue! I love your enthusiasm. While things aren't as bad as many people believed, they still aren't great either. The real problem is in the individual states. Politicians there are making out like bandits in many cases.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Great article, and I'm glad that you clarified this issue. There is so much misinformation going around. I usually check things out that are e-mailed to me, and often times the facts are incorrect. Anyhow, really good job researching this and getting the facts straight. Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing.


byshea profile image

byshea 3 years ago

Fabulous article! I have always wondered the same thing myself but never took the time to research it like you have.

The next question would be what the name of the condition is that most members of congress are inflicted with when they somehow forget about why the people put them there and worry more about how to stay there.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Au fait you never cease to amaze me not only with your choice of hub topics but with your impeccable research and spreading of accurate information! Not only interesting but educational, and informative.

We all wonder about information like this when we get that email but we don't take the time to research it!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, pinned and shared.


lifelovemystery profile image

lifelovemystery 3 years ago from Houston, TX

Exactly right. What can we do about greedy politicians, and their quest to be life-long members of government? I think they should serve two terms at the most, and then return to the private sector. I also don't think that they should be allowed to become lobbyists, it's just a never-ending trail of money and power. Voters need to wise up to what is really going on at the state and federal levels.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

This problem is not with just US, but a worldwide one. Here in India, Members of Parliament, State Assemblies and even the corporates of Municipal corporation enjoy full pension facilities.

But what can we do?


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Thank you for citing your sources. Wish more hubbers did this. Good research.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I like your idea moonlake, but that would never happen, great idea anyway.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I'ld them all to serve at least 6 months in the war zone they don't have to fight just be there for that amount of time. They need to see what really goes on and how our military needs more than they are getting.

Interesting hub and great information. Voted up and shared.


lifelovemystery profile image

lifelovemystery 3 years ago from Houston, TX

If anyone is deserving of benefits it is our military veterans. Their benefits will never approach the level of what Congressmen/women receive and I find that shameful. Congressional pay and benefits should be more in line with middle-class Americans. But Congress continuously rewards themselves for their work, even if they just vote 'present'. Great hub.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

An awesome hub and cleared up a lot of questions, I had.

But, about double dipping? I need an example. Are the states not collecting from the federal government to pay their representatives?

Your hub explained so much, but I still have questions.

One question, can representatives be a lobby for some corporations while they are supposedly representing the people, like is seems Paul Ryan is a lobby for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Voted up, Useful, Awesome, Interesting, Shared and Pinned!!!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Great article!! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared. Well researched. I knew their average incomes were around those numbers, but everything else surprised me. I still think that their benefits are a lot, but they do have an important job, right? I often wonder how many hours their really logging though. I love how you point out that less then 1% of Americans are millionaires and 47% of congress are. It's not a surprise, but how one can be worth over 350 million, that is. It's no wonder that America is in debt. I believe we need to look over ALL payments going out and adjust them accordingly. Such an interesting article. I always love the numbers because numbers can't lie:)

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