Heard on the Hill

Senate Appropriations Approves $5M to Pay Interns

New funding approved in the fiscal 2019 Legislative Branch markup

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., has been tackling the issue of paying interns in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $5 million Thursday to compensate the chamber’s interns.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen teamed up with fellow Democrats Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.


An approximate $50,000 will be allocated to each office for intern compensation with adjustments that reflect state population variation and noncontiguous state increases. For instance, Florida senators are estimated to be allocated $66,200 while Rhode Island senators are estimated to be allocated $46,000, according to the report text.

The committee approved the money adopting by unanimous consent a manager’s amendment during its 2019 legislative branch appropriations bill markup.

Van Hollen has championed paying interns since he was sworn in last year. 

“While obtaining internship experience is certainly beneficial to both the job candidate and the hiring office, many congressional internships are unpaid,” he wrote in an op-ed for Roll Call in April. “This means that this opportunity is out of reach for young Americans who simply do not have the financial means to dedicate an entire semester or summer to a congressional internship without pay.”

Van Hollen’s is one of 47 Senate offices that currently pay interns, according to data collected and analyzed by Roll Call in April.

Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.

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