27th Amendment

Passed by Congress: 25 September 1789
Ratified: 7 May 1992

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

The Twenty-seventh Amendment bars members of Congress from voting to give themselves a pay raise. They may vote to raise congressional pay, but such increases can take effect only for the next session of Congress.

The most interesting thing about the Twenty-seventh Amendment, by far, is its history. The Twenty-seventh Amendment was one of the original package of twelve passed by the First Congress in 1789. Ten of those twelve gained ratification in 1791; we have known them ever since as the Bill of Rights, the famous Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution. But this amendment waited in limbo for more than 200 years before finally gaining ratification from three-fourths of the states and becoming law. That is a record that surely will never be broken!

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