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No creature was stirring as House treated itself

The US House has given itself a Christmas present - a doubling of the amount members may earn in outside income above their $60,662 salaries. The action, approved in advance by top Democratic and Republican leaders, took place in less than 30 seconds with no explanation and no debate. Most members and the press were unaware for some time what had happened.

The rules were changed so that members of Congress now can earn up to 30 percent of their congressional salary from outside sources.

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