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Issue One applauds creation of pay floor for House staffers, cementing a longstanding Issue One priority

Media Contact

Cory Combs

Director of Media Relations

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that all House staff will be paid an annualized salary of at least $45,000, effective September 1, 2022. In a historic first, this reform will establish a pay floor for House staff, cementing a key Issue One recommendation that will help Congress better reflect and serve the American people for decades to come.

“The creation of a pay floor is a massive step forward in helping Congress better reflect and serve the American people,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “Thank you to Speaker Pelosi and House leadership for recognizing the value of congressional staff and investing in them. The Senate should now follow the House’s lead.”

Penniman continued: “Instituting a liveable salary will make public service in Congress a viable option for many more young workers, allowing the legislative branch to attract a talented workforce that is representative of and responsive to all Americans. Better-paid staffers who feel valued for their skills and expertise are also more likely to stay in their positions on Capitol Hill, where their knowledge and experience will serve the interests of the people.”

As Issue One’s “Fair Pay” report noted earlier this year, this change will raise the salaries of an estimated 1,200 congressional staff above a living wage. Our analysis of payroll data from LegiStorm found that 13% of D.C.-based congressional staffers — or 1 in 8 of all staff on Capitol Hill — were paid less than a living wage in 2020, as determined by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which estimated that $42,610 was the “minimum subsistence wage” that year for an adult with no children in the nation’s capital.

At the same time, Issue One has helped lead a bipartisan coalition of organizations and experts in support of greater pay and resources for congressional offices and their staff. We also called for greater pay and the implementation of a Congress-wide pay floor as part of our fiscal year 2022 and 2023 appropriations requests.

During this Congress, House leadership has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to congressional staff. In addition to creating a pay floor, the House has raised salaries for top congressional staffers, created the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and implemented a 21% increase in House office budgets, which are used to pay staff, among other things. A pay floor was also one of the more than 100 unanimous recommendations advanced by the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, many of which called for greater support and resources for congressional staff.

Throughout the year, staff associations on Capitol Hill, including the Congressional Black Associates and Congressional Progressive Staff Association, have also advocated for increased pay and shared powerful stories about their experiences working on Capitol Hill.

For more information, read our full report, “Fair Pay: Why Congress Needs to Invest in Junior Staff.”