Congressional Experts: Raising Staff Pay Would Help Congress "Uphold its Responsibilities to the American People"

ICYMI, wanted to be sure you saw that 12 organizations and six congressional experts sent a letter yesterday in support of the CAO study requested by Leader Hoyer, Chairman Jeffries, and Chair Lofgren on pay and benefits for House staff.

First, a quick recap of House Democrats’ efforts to better recruit and retain experienced and diverse House staffers:
  • In April, Leader Hoyer and Chairman Jeffries wrote to Appropriators calling for an increase in Congressional staff pay.
  • In May, Leader Hoyer, Chairman Jeffries, and CHA Chair Lofgren called for a comprehensive study on current staff compensation and its impact on recruitment by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
  • Last week, more than 100 Members signed onto a letter led by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez echoing calls for the Appropriations Committee to increase staff pay for FY22.
Below are a few excerpts from their letter to Chief Administrative Officer Szpindor:

“We, the undersigned, strongly urge your office to conduct a study on the current benefits available for House staff, as outlined in a letter sent earlier this month by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, and Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren.”

A capable, experienced, and representative staff is critical to Members’ capability to fulfill their constitutional obligations and meet the needs of their constituents. Congressional staff, both on Capitol Hill and in district offices, are crucial to the daily operations of the institution. They craft policy, advance legislation, and interact daily with constituents.”

“Over the last 30 years, the responsibilities assumed by congressional staff have grown alongside a 30% increase in the American population and a 700% jump in federal spending. Despite these trends and the wide range of responsibilities facing them, however, House staff receive lower pay and less robust benefits compared to executive branch and private sector employees.

By offering lesser compensation, Congress also damages its ability to attract a diverse workforce. With unpaid internships and underpaid entry-level positions, the pipeline of talent to Capitol Hill is dramatically limited by a candidate’s ability to self-fund their first roles in Congress.”

“In order for Congress to uphold its responsibilities to the American people, the institution must be able to attract and retain a capable and diverse workforce. This is why we support the request of House leadership and echo the call for your office to conduct a study on the current benefits available. Understanding the full scope of benefits available to House staff will provide a clear picture of the current gaps in staff compensation and give the House an opportunity to address these gaps in a meaningful, evidence-based manner.

The letter was signed by the following organizations:
Bipartisan Policy Center Action
College to Congress
Congressional Management Foundation
Demand Progress
Democracy Fund Voice
Issue One
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
NALEO Educational Fund
Pay Our Interns
Project On Government Oversight
Protect Democracy
Unite America