Republicans Say They Want to Cut Staffers' Pay: Here's How Little Those Staffers Make Today

This is why people become lobbyists.
More

As a condition for reopening the government and possibly averting a debt default, House Republicans want to hand Congressional staff a massive pay cut by eliminating their health insurance subsidies. So this seems like a good time to ask: Could Hill workers afford a massive pay cut? 

Hardly. MSNBC's Ned Resnikoff points out that inflation adjusted pay has been mostly stagnant in Hill offices for years, with most staffers earning somewhere in the range of $30,00o to $60,000. According to a 2010 report by the Sunlight Foundation, which produced the chart below, only chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and schedulers have seen their salary go up notably since 1990.

There are two big concerns here: class and competency. As Resnikoff noted on Twitter, the less Congress pays it staff, the harder it will be to work there for anybody who isn't independently wealthy. It's bad enough that getting a job on the Hill unofficially requires a stint as an unpaid intern. Just imagine if toiling there meant paying for your own health plan out of pocket.

Which brings us to the second issue: brain drain. Congress already has a revolving door problem, and without some kind of drastic change in the law, always will. But making pay and benefits even stingier is only going to encourage more staffers to find cushy jobs at trade associations and lobby shops. And by cushy, I really mean jobs that pay them something close to what they're worth.  

Jump to comments
Presented by

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In