Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday that the House of Representatives will henceforth require staffers to receive a minimum pay of $45,000 per year.
Punchbowl News reported that Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter that the House would set the minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000 for the first time.
“I am pleased to announce that, pursuant to the statutory authority of the Speaker in 2 U.S.C. 4532, the House will for the first time ever set the minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000,” she said.
Lawmakers in the House will have until September 1 to implement the new wage structure. Pelosi stated that the maximum compensation for House staffers has also been increased to $203,700 in order to be on par with the Senate.
Pelosi stated that a 21 percent increase in members’ Representational Allowance, which was implemented in March, “would more than compensate this compensation adjustment.”
As a result of having a competitive minimum salary, the House will be better equipped to retain and recruit exceptional and diverse people.” It will open the doors to public service for individuals who may not have been able to afford it in the past,” Pelosi wrote in her letter.
“This is also a question of fairness because many of the youngest employees who work the longest hours are also among the lowest paid,” says the author.
Before, there was no such thing as a pay floor in Congress, with some staffers earning as little as $30,000 per year.
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Pelosi’s action on Friday was hailed as “a glorious moment in congressional history” by Demand Progress, a nonprofit organization that has advocated for higher staffer pay. Demand Progress has been a vocal advocate for higher staffer pay.
It was reported that “if everything goes according to plan, by the end of next week this House will be on track to enhance the working circumstances for its staff in the 117th Congress more than Congress has done in the previous three decades combined.”
As Pelosi pointed out, these steps come just days before the House is expected to enact legislation that will officially recognize the right of congressional staffers to organize unions next week.