Thirteen percent of congressional staff earn less than a living wage, report says

About one in eight congressional staffers are not earning a living wage, according to a new analysis of payroll data.

The problem is particularly acute for staff assistants, who are often the most junior staffers in congressional offices. According to Issue One, a “cross-partisan” group that advocates for transparency in politics, nearly 1,200 staff members in 2020 earned less than the $42,610 that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says is a living wage for an adult. childless in the nation’s capital.

Just about 13% of Congressional aides based in Washington, DC have not reached that mark.

In The reportshared first with CQ Roll Call, the first issue analyzed data from LegiStorm and found that staff assistants earn a median income of less than $39,000 per year, with press assistants and legislative correspondents doing slightly better with a median of around $44,000 per year for each.

“Congressional staff are the heart of our legislative branch who work tirelessly on behalf of the American people. Yet too many people are forced to accept side gigs or leave Congress for better-paying lobbying positions just to be able to pay their bills,” Issue One founder and CEO Nick Penniman said in a statement. . “If we want a robust and capable Congress that is able to meet the needs of all Americans, it’s time to implement better compensation for junior employees.”

Michael A. Bynum