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Nearly half in Congress are millionaires, study finds

Widening wealth gap separates voters, legislators

WASHINGTON - When Representative Ed Pastor was first elected to Congress two decades ago, the Arizona Democrat was comfortably ensconced in the middle class. Pastor held $100,000 or so in savings in the mid-1990s and had a retirement pension, but like many Americans, he also owed the banks nearly as much in loans.

Today, Pastor, a miner’s son and a former high school teacher, is a member of a not-so-exclusive club: Capitol Hill millionaires. That group has grown in recent years to include nearly half of all members of Congress - 250 in all - and the wealth gap between lawmakers and their constituents appears to be growing quickly, even as Congress debates unemployment benefits, possible cuts in food stamps, and a “millionaire’s tax.’’

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