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Hill Staff Making Less Money, Reports Show

Capitol Hill staff salaries are on the wane, according to new data. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Hill staffers might be working hard in competitive jobs, but they still aren’t making much money, according to two new reports from the Congressional Research Service.  

In studying select positions on both the House and Senate sides, CRS found staffers from both chambers were making less, in real dollars, than they were four years ago, with the notable exception of House-side caseworkers (who saw a 3.25 percent raise).  

“It doesn’t surprise me that congressional staff are seeing their real wages drop," said Bradford Fitch, president of the Congressional Management Foundation. "Congress was the only branch of government which actually cut its own budget by 20 percent between 2011-2013. The unfortunate consequence for Congress and constituents is that public service on Capitol Hill continues to look bleaker as a career choice, and the private sector looks more attractive.”  

Other findings from the CRS reports include:  

— The minimum salaries declined (in both nominal and real dollars) for a number of positions in both the House and Senate, meaning the same positions are paying staffers less now than they were four years ago.  

— Members of Congress saw an 8 percent drop in their salaries in real dollars, due to the reluctance of Congress to vote itself a raise. Most senators and House members earn $174,000 a year, unchanged since 2009.  

— Positions that saw the greatest median salary drop in real dollars over a four-year period include: House-side Counsel (20.51 percent), House-side schedulers (16.60 percent), Senate schedulers (20.56 percent) and Senate press secretaries (18.77 percent).  

The Congressional Research Service declined to comment on the reports.  

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Topics: getting-paid