Washington (CNN)The Democratic Party says it's the party of the working class, but congressional Democrats this week complicated that pitch by calling for a pay raise for members of Congress. "Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution," said Rep. Alcee Hastings during a Monday Rules Committee hearing on the upcoming year's legislative branch appropriations bill, according to Roll Call. The number two House Democrat told reporters he agreed with Hastings. Rep Steny Hoyer said it was appropriate during the recession years in 2009 and 2010 to not approve any pay increases, but to continue that policy "simply will dictate that the only people who can serve are the rich and I don't think that's what the founding fathers had in mind." Members of Congress are paid $174,000 annually, and haven't enjoyed a pay raise since 2009. Staffers are paid considerably less, with the average staff assistant on the Hill earning roughly $35,000 per year. .... In contrast, an American household's median net worth was estimated at $56,355 in a 2014 study. Source They must be joking.