WASHINGTON (AP) -- If the $14 billion bailout plan for U.S. automakers passes, it will help more than just Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. Federal judges would get a pay raise, as well.

The raise -- labeled a cost of living adjustment -- would bring U.S. District court judges up to par with members of Congress, who will receive an almost $5,000 boost on Jan. 1. District judges and lawmakers now earn $169,300 a year but are expected to be awarded a 2.8 percent raise next year, said Dick Carelli, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., insisted that the judicial pay raise go into the automaker loan measure, which is the only item of business on Congress' lame-duck agenda.
Under ethics legislation enacted almost two decades ago, members of Congress get a cost of living raise automatically, but they have to vote to give judges an identical raise. Because the spending bill covering U.S. courts has not passed, the step is necessary if judges are going to get their raise.
Even with the raise, judge earn far less than lawyers at big firms, just as members of Congress make less than most lobbyists.