Virginia House Democrats Vote to Give Themselves a Pay Raise for Working from Home

Virginia House Democrats Vote to Give Themselves a Pay Raise for Working from Home

August 20, 2020

Today, Virginia House Republicans pushed back against Democrats resolution authorizing a $200 per day travel allowance for the special general assembly session. In a letter to House Clerk Suzette Denslow, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert informed the Clerk that he and members of the Republican Caucus will refuse to accept the $200 per day for ‘sleeping in their own beds.’

“On the same day, House Democrats passed House Resolution 516, authorizing expenses for the General Assembly session, including a daily payment to pay for meals, hotels, and other travel expenses. Democrats made it clear that these payments would be made as long as members “attended” a virtual session of the House. Now that members will no longer be traveling, the House Republican caucus believes it is wrong to accept these payments, and has instructed the Clerk of the House to withhold travel related per diem payments for Republicans.

Many Virginians are hurting financially. Democrats passed significant tax increases during the regular session, and we don’t think it’s appropriate to accept money to pay for a hotel room when we’re sleeping in our own beds. – Minority Leader Todd Gilbert

Colonial Heights Delegate and Former House Speaker Kirk Cox agreed by issuing a similar statement

I am proud to join my House Republican colleagues in foregoing our travel and expense-related per diem during the Special Session. It does not make sense to pay legislators for travel expenses if the Speaker insists on mandating that we meet virtually from our homes. I believe we can and should be meeting in person, and until we do I will not take taxpayer funded travel and expense-related per diem. – Delegate Kirk Cox

The Special Session has been rife with technical errors with legislators being booted from the video conference feed while others left their microphones off mute during Gov. Northam’s address to both chambers. The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the Western Hemisphere. It’s where leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry charted the birth of a nation. Now, under the new majority, parliamentary procedure along with open, honest debate over legislation that impacts the lives of millions of Virginians has gone by the wayside. While Democrat leaders have pushed for virtual classrooms for Virginia students, they have proven that a virtual meeting is no way to educate a student and is certainly not a way to govern an entire state.

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