Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
May 20, 2021
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin, 202-225-3130 (Hoyer)
Christie Stephenson, 202-770-5007 (Jeffries)
Peter Whippy, 202-841-2523 (Lofgren)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), and Chair of the House Administration Committee Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) sent a letter to the Chief Administrative Officer of the House, Catherine Szpindor, asking for her office to conduct a study on the benefits currently available to House employees and the impact that other benefits currently available to private-sector employees would have on House staff recruitment, retention, and diversity.  The authors have been focused on an effort to make additional benefits available to House employees in order to ensure that Members, leaders, and committees can attract and retain the best and brightest to help them serve the American people while promoting a more diverse workforce. 

“It is our hope,” the letter states, “that such a study will help inform efforts to include expanded benefits in the Legislative Branch appropriations bill for the next fiscal year.  We will continue to advocate for House staff to receive more competitive pay and benefits so that the House can recruit and retain the best and most diverse talent to serve the American people.”
 
“If we want to renew Americans’ faith in Congress as an institution that can deliver results and do good for them and their communities, the House must be able to compete with the private sector for the most talented, experienced, and knowledgeable employees. Retaining Congressional staff also improves our institutional knowledge and Congress’ ability to efficiently and effectively serve the American people,” Leader Hoyer said.  “House staff have endured much difficulty these past few years, culminating in the horrible events of January 6; it’s no wonder that the average staff tenure in the House is little more than three years.  We need to make sure that those working in the legislative branch of our government reflect the diversity of our country and the best of America.  I hope this study we are seeking will provide further information about this challenge and how best to address it.”
 
“Congressional staff are the backbone of all the life-changing work we do in the Capitol on behalf of everyday Americans,” said Chairman Jeffries. “Without our staff’s expertise and strong knowledge of issues back home, Members of Congress would not be able to serve our constituents to the best of our abilities. As we continue our focus on improving the quality of life for those we represent, we must also invest in the staff that deliver the critical services aimed at achieving that goal. That means ensuring salaries and benefits are at a level which allow staff to live healthy, sustainable lives outside of the office and encourages them to stay in positions of service and continue their work For The People.”
 
“This has been a tremendously challenging time for all Americans, with the staff of the House of Representatives no exception. Our legislative branch staff have braved many challenges, including the trauma of January 6, and provided steadfast support for our ongoing work for the American people. I commend Majority Leader Hoyer for leading this important effort. To recruit, retain, and promote an effective, efficient, and a diverse workforce, we need to be able to compete with the private sector and the federal agencies. I look forward to reviewing the Chief Administrative Officer’s response to our correspondence,” said Chair Lofgren.

To read the full text of the letter, click here, or see below.
 
May 20, 2021
 
Hon. Catherine Szpindor
Chief Administrative Officer
U.S. House of Representatives
632 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chief Administrative Officer Szpindor:
 
In the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection, much attention has been given to evaluating and enhancing the well-being of those who work as Congressional staff.  This discussion is, we believe, long overdue, as staff for Members, leadership, and committees continue to work hard, work long hours, and give such dedicated service to this institution and to their country even as they earn relatively low pay and receive benefits that are not competitive with the private sector.  For this reason, we have been working to identify methods of improving pay and benefits for House staff, and we write to ask that your office conduct a study on the current benefits available.  Knowing the full scope of benefits offered to House staff will help us better understand where gaps exist and opportunities to make House employment more competitive and more diverse might be found.
 
In such a study, we hope you will explore the impact that extending the following additional benefits would have on employment competitiveness and staff recruitment and retention:
  • Reimbursement for adoption or fertility treatment not covered by insurance;
  • A first-time homebuyer assistance benefit for House employees;
  • Making House staff eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and providing coverage for private student loans;
  • Offering a tax-advantaged college-savings benefit or “529” plan;
  • Providing childcare subsidies for staffers who do not use the House daycare; &
  • Allowing staff from offices that are shutting down (due to the death or resignation of a Member, a party transition, or a loss of election or an appointment) to remain on payroll for sixty days beyond their offices’ closure.
In addition, we would appreciate your specific mention of benefits currently enjoyed by many employed in the private sector or in the U.S. Senate that are not currently available to House staff. 

It is our hope that such a study will help inform efforts to include expanded benefits in the Legislative Branch appropriations bill for the next fiscal year.  We will continue to advocate for House staff to receive more competitive pay and benefits so that the House can recruit and retain the best and most diverse talent to serve the American people.  Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you on this matter soon.
 
Sincerely,
  
STENY H. HOYER
House Majority Leader

HAKEEM JEFFRIES
Chair, House Democratic Caucus

ZOE LOFGREN
Chair, Committee on House Administration