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Members of Congress collected more than $800,000 in salary during the chamber’s protracted speaker fight — during a period when they technically were not members.

The pols officially become members of Congress — leaving behind the title of Rep.-Elect — when they are sworn in by the Speaker of the House. The event usually takes place on Jan. 3, the Constitutionally mandated start of each new Congress.

Even re-elected incumbents must be sworn back in every two years for their “member” status to be current.

But because Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to clinch the votes to become Speaker until the early morning hours of Jan. 7 — a delay not seen since before the Civil War — members of Congress swiped four days of payment before they were actually sworn-in as members.

During their four days as representatives-elect from Jan. 3-7, they made about $1,870 each in salary — or $813,867 as a body.

Members pose for selfies instead of working
Members pose for selfies instead of working.
AP
Rep. Linda Sanchez plays a game on her Tablet
Rep. Linda Sanchez plays a game on her Tablet.
AP

The money will be included in their normal pay, which comes at the end of the month, as long as they have filed their credentials with the House clerk.

Almost all members of Congress earn $174,000 per year. Party leaders take home $193,400, while Speaker McCarthy will make $223,500.

During their marathon Speaker votes, members-elect amused themselves in various ways. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) caught up on some reading, while Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) read the funny pages. Rep. Linda Sanchez played games on her Tablet. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) brought along her dog Libby. As well-compensated tensions came to a boil, GOP nearly came to blows.

Lance Gooden with his son and daughter
Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, sits with his children in the House chamber before the 14th round of voting for speaker.

US Rep Katie Porter reading 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F-ck'
US Rep Katie Porter reads while waiting for the House to approve a speaker.


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US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene yawns.
US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was seen yawning.


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During their four days as representatives-elect from Jan. 3 - 7, members of congress made about $1,870 each in salary -- or $813,867 as a body.
During their four days as representatives-elect from Jan. 3-7, members of congress made about $1,870 each in salary — or $813,867 as a body.
AFP via Getty Images

New York Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres defended his salary. While he had to spend his days idling on the floor — repeatedly voting for his party’s leader Hakeem Jeffries, Torres insisted his office “continued to function like business as usual and continued to provide constituent services.”

Torres, a die-hard progressive with an independent streak, is preparing a new bill to address the issue. The “Swear In Representatives Elect Now Act’’ or “SIREN Act” would permit the Clerk of the House to administer the oath of office to members. The bill, like his “SANTOS Act” — making it a crime for members to lie about their background — has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled chamber.

“If there had been an emergency during the dysfunctional speaker vote, congress would have been unable to respond,” Torres said. “The paralysis of Congress in the absence of a Speaker is a dangerous deficiency in our system.”

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