Nancy Pelosi Announces a Taxpayer-Funded Raise for Congressional Staffers
The House of Representatives will be raising its minimum annual wage for House staffers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday.
By Sept. 1, staffers working in the House of Representatives will be earning wages no less than $45,000. Additionally, the maximum annual salary for House staffers will also rise to $203,700.
Pelosi announced the updates to the payment scheme for House staffers in a Friday “Dear Colleagues” letter.
The March government funding legislation, which increased the minimum representational allowance for each congressional office by 21 percent, will help cover the staffer pay hikes, the letter stated.
“With a competitive minimum salary, the House will better be able to retain and recruit excellent, diverse talent,” the top House Democrat said. “Doing so will open the doors to public service for those who may not have been able to afford to do so in the past.”
“This is also an issue of fairness, as many of the youngest staffers working the longest hours often earn the lowest salaries,” Pelosi further wrote.
One in eight congressional staffers does not earn a living wage or minimum subsistence wage, according to a January 2022 report by Washington D.C.-based cross-partisan political reform group Issue One. Some workers made as low as around $30,000 annually.
The report looked at how congressional staff wages diverged from the living wage in Washington, D.C., which, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is $42,610 annually for an adult with no children.
“For many jobseekers who don’t have financial help from relatives or time for an additional job, entry-level jobs working for Congress in a city as expensive as Washington, D.C., are simply not an option,” the report’s authors Amisa Ratliff, Jamie Neikrie and Michael Beckel noted
A recent Congressional Progressive Staff Association survey found that 47 percent of respondents reported “struggling to pay bills or make ends meet.”
“This statistic was higher among non-management staff, reporting 50% struggling to pay bills compared to only 36% of management staff,” the Congressional Progressive Staff Association found.
Pelosi also said that she would be voting for Congressman Andy Levin’s legislation that would recognize the right of congressional workers to organize, which would “pave the way for staffers to join in union, if they so choose,” Pelosi said.
“Congressional staffers deserve the same fundamental rights and protections as workers all across the country, including the right to bargain collectively,” Pelosi wrote.
“Today is a proud moment in congressional history and portends a significant advance in the working conditions for congressional staff,” Demand Progress policy director Daniel Schuman said, according to a Demand Progress news release welcoming the pay raise shared via Twitter.
The House of Reps will establish a min staff pay level of $45k & next week vote on letting staff unionize! Thanks to @SpeakerPelosi @RepAndyLevin @RepZoeLofgren @LeaderHoyer @AOC @RepJeffries and especially congressional staff & @Congress_Union who sounded the alarm. Statement ↓ pic.twitter.com/LJrAPL1YJf
— Daniel Schuman (@danielschuman) May 6, 2022
“Within 100 days of Speaker Pelosi signaling her support for congressional unionization, which came in the wake of a series of revelations about mistreatment of congressional staff, the House of Representatives is set to make good on its commitment to bolster staffers’ ability to organize and negotiate without fear of retaliation,” Schuman said.
“If all goes as planned, by the end of next week this House will be on track to improve the working conditions for its staff in the 117th Congress than Congress has over the last three decades combined,” Demand Progress stated.
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