The Congressional Institute
1700 Diagonal Road. #730
Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone: (703) 837-8812

Do Members get any special privileges or other “perks”?

Do Members get any "perks"?

One public misperception of Congress involves the idea that Members are constantly taking advantage of special deals not available to the general public. Congress has access to some specific privileges, but they are hardly as extravagant as some have imagined.

One benefit of serving in Congress is the ability to deduct $3,000 in living expenses from a Member’s yearly Federal income tax to cover the cost of living away from their home district or state. This is a very small deduction when the cost of maintaining a residence in Washington, DC in addition to their home district is considered.

A Constitutional privilege grants basic immunity from some arrests while Congress is in session, something originally assured in Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution:

"They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

This was intended to protect Members from intimidation and to ensure their ability to reach Washington to participate in Congress, among other reasons.

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