With 8.8 percent unemployment across the country and more than 8 million people claiming unemployment benefits, one California congresswoman wants people to know they’re not the only ones facing financial hardship. Who else might be? The lawmaker herself.
In an appearance on MSNBC Thursday, Democratic California Rep. Linda Sánchez talked about the downsides of a federal government shutdown. Some lawmakers, to the seriousness of the issue, have said they would forgo their paychecks in the event of that shutdown. Sanchez explained she just can’t afford to go along with that idea.
“I have to tell you that I live paycheck-to-paycheck, like most Americans,” Sánchez said. “I’m still paying off my student loans. I have a 2-year-old son who I have to support, and I have to maintain residences on both coasts. It’s very difficult for me to say, ‘Hey, I can give up my paycheck,’ because the reality is, I have financial obligations that I have to meet on a month-to-month basis that doesn’t make it possible for me.”
Members of Congress receive an annual salary of $174,000, whereas the median household income for American is a little over $46,000 annually. Nonetheless, Sánchez said it is really tough for her to stretch her paycheck that covers everything.
“Now, if you’re a member of Congress who is a millionaire, and there are quite a few members of the House and Senate that are, it’s really not a problem for them,” Sánchez said. “But they don’t share the experience that most Americans share, that I know, having grown up in a family of seven kids to immigrant parents that you have to really stretch a paycheck to make sure that it covers everything. And, you know, this suggestion that it’s so easy for every single lawmaker to do that, that’s just simply not the case for a lot of us.”