Nancy Pelosi raises the maximum salary for House staff from $173,900 to $199,300 allowing senior aides to make more than lawmakers
- House Speaker Pelosi announced Thursday that senior Capitol Hill staff can now make nearly $200,000 annually – more than your average lawmaker
- It’s an effort come keeping top aides from going to K Street, where lobbying firms can pay them much more
- The pay ceiling for aides will be moved from the $173,900 to $199,300
- The average House member makes $174,000, so their top staffers were always kept at a salary just under what their bosses brought in
- ‘This order will help the Congress recruit and retain the outstanding and diverse talent that we need,’ Pelosi said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that senior Capitol Hill staff can now make nearly $200,000 annually – more than your average lawmaker – in an effort to keep top aides from heading to K Street.
The pay ceiling for aides will be moved from the $173,900 to $199,300.
The average House member makes $174,000, so their top staffers were always kept at a salary just under what their bosses brought in.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she was delinking lawmaker and staff pay, allowing top aides to make as much as $199,300, instead of the $173,900 they previously were allowed to bring home
Pelosi said she was delinking members salary from staff.
‘This order will help the Congress recruit and retain the outstanding and diverse talent that we need, as it also helps ensure parity between employees of the House of Representatives and other employees of the Federal Government,’ Pelosi said in a letter to members.
Pelosi said she had been advised to raise the pay by the chair of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a fellow California Democrat.
While this move impacts the highest-paid staffers, allowing them a salary bump – and possibly preventing lobbying shops from scooping them up – Democrats have also been pushing to have Congressional staff paid more across the board.
Members can decide what to pay each member of their staff, divvying up what’s called the Member Representational Allowance, among staff pay, office rent and other needs to run a Congressional office.
Staff salaries on Capitol Hill are notoriously low, with entry-level staff often having to pick up a second job. Top aides will now be able to make more than lawmakers, allowing the Hill to compete with lobbying shops on K Street
In June, more than 100 lawmakers, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had argued in a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, that there should be a 21 per cent bump in the Member Representational Allowance, which would allow lawmakers to give more money to their staff.
Staff pay on Capitol Hill is notoriously low, while the cost of living in Washington, D.C. has only grown.
‘For years, pay and benefits for the staff of Member offices, leadership offices, and committees have fallen farther and farther behind what is offered in the private sector,’ the letter said. ‘At the same time, the cost of living here in our nation’s capital has risen substantially, placing opportunities such as homeownership, rental housing, and childcare out of reach for many.’
AOC’s letter warned that the ‘low salary available to entry-level staff continue to raise barriers to entry and advantage those who are already wealthy and connected.’
In the past she’s spoken about meeting bartenders and servers in Washington who are working a side hustle in the service industry because their Capitol Hill salary isn’t enough to live in the expensive D.C.
‘This week I went to dive spot in DC for some late night food. I chatted up the staff. SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers *currently worked in Senate + House offices.*’ she tweeted in December 2018. ‘This is a disgrace. Congress of ALL places should raise MRAs so we can pay staff an actual DC living wage.’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is leading an effort to get all staff paid more. In December 2018 she recalled meeting bartenders, managers and servers at a D.C. dive bar who were working there in addition to Capitol Hill because salaries were so low