By Julia Glum
January 3, 2019

When Nancy Pelosi became the speaker of the House on Thursday, she didn’t just make history. She also got a serious pay bump.

House speakers earn an annual salary of $223,500, according to the House Press Gallery. That amounts to a roughly $30,000 raise for Pelosi, who is now again the third-highest-paid elected official in the U.S. federal government (after the president and vice president).

Pelosi is the first politician in over 60 years to land the speaker job twice. She’s also the only woman and the oldest in the role.

When she was first elected to the House of Representatives back in 1987, the standard pay for a non-ranking member of Congress was $89,500. But the California Democrat quickly climbed the ladder, and her compensation has recently outpaced that of her colleagues.

As House Minority Leader of the 115th Congress, the California Democrat earned $193,400 per year. All other representatives made $174,000.

Here’s what else we know about congressional pay and Pelosi’s finances.

How Nancy Pelosi Made Her Money

Estimates of Pelosi’s net worth vary. Roll Call’s most recent Wealth of Congress analysis says she’s worth at least $16 million, but OpenSecrets puts her around $100 million. (She has refused to talk about it.)

What we do know comes from her financial disclosure reports. For example, she and her husband, Paul, own a house and vineyard in California that’s worth at least $5 million and that brought in between $15,000 and $50,000 in grape sales in 2017. She owns a commercial property and a four-story building in San Francisco that each earned her at least $100,000. She also has stock in Apple, Facebook and Disney.

Paul Pelosi makes most of his cash from Financial Leasing Services, Inc., an investment company. But he’s not always bringing home the metaphorical bacon: He recently lost millions of dollars as the owner of the the Sacramento Mountain Lions, a soccer team in the short-lived United Football League, according to Roll Call.

“He’s a private person, not involved in political life,” a Pelosi spokeswoman told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007. “Mr. Pelosi’s investments are separate from hers, and they have separate careers.”

The Politics of Pelosi’s Pay

Pelosi is stepping into her old position in a turbulent time. President Donald Trump has spent nearly two weeks warring with the Democrats over funding for his Mexico border wall, leading to a partial government shutdown. As a result, about 380,000 employees are on furlough, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The new speaker has called upon Trump to end the shutdown, but she hasn’t yet joined her peers in publicly vowing to donate her salary while Congress works to find a solution. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, tweeted that she planned to donate her salary to a refugee nonprofit during the shutdown. Sen. Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, promised to give her pay to local food banks.

Meanwhile, as Pelosi takes over the House, her predecessor Paul Ryan is on track to enjoy a payday of his own.

The specifics of his pension are unclear, but Wisconsin Republican’s net worth is estimated at about $6 million. Bloomberg reported that, now that Ryan’s retired from the House, he’ll make a great candidate for high-paying corporate board gigs. Those could generate up to $300,000 apiece.

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