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Copyright 1999 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.  
Chicago Sun-Times

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September 29, 1999, WEDNESDAY, FINAL MARKETS


LENGTH: 367 words

HEADLINE: Clinton signs pay-raise bill; 
Affects successors, Congress



   President Clinton signed legislation today that will double future presidents' annual salaries to $ 400,000 and let members of Congress collect their second pay increase in two years.

House and Senate members' salaries will climb by $ 4,600 to $ 141,300 a year beginning in January. Members of Congress last got a pay increase in January 1998 and before that in 1993.

The increase to $ 400,000 will be the first presidential pay raise since 1969, but it will not take effect until Clinton leaves office Jan. 20, 2001. The Constitution forbids any change in a president's salary while he is in office.

The measure also gives raises to Vice President Al Gore, Cabinet secretaries and about 1,300 other top-level branch officials in January. By law, they are entitled to the same 3.4 percent increase received by members of Congress.

Gore will earn $ 181,400, while Cabinet secretaries will make $ 157,000.

Under congressional pay scales, leaders earn more than rank and file members, topped by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who will make $ 181,400 in January.

Federal civil servants' salaries will rise 4.8 percent a year, their highest annual increase since 1981.

The increases were part of a $ 28 billion measure financing the Treasury Department and some smaller agencies for the fiscal year beginning Friday. Clinton signed the bill in an Oval Office ceremony attended by several members of Congress and news photographers.

In a printed statement, Clinton did not mention the pay increases. Instead, he called attention to a new requirement that health plans for federal employees must offer prescription contraceptive coverage, with an exception for plans that object to such coverage on religious grounds.

By law, members of Congress receive an annual salary increase unless they vote to block it, and the Treasury bill is the traditional vehicle for doing that. The measure contained no language preventing the congressional pay increase, nor was it mentioned during brief debate.

While congressional pay increases often have triggered heated debates, there was no serious challenge to the latest increase. The bill passed the Senate, 54-38, and the House, 292-126.



LOAD-DATE: September 29, 1999

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