According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, staffers for members of the House of Representatives can now earn a greater salary courtesy of taxpayers than their elected bosses
On August 11, Pelosi stated that the maximum yearly wage for House staff would be increased to $199,300. The new top staff salary marks a 15 percent increase from the current maximum of $173,900.
Staffers can now make more than House members, who receive a base pay of $174,000. House salaries have been set at that level since 2009, with some additional amounts allowed for representatives in leadership positions.
Pelosi said that the pay increase is needed to keep top staffers in place and attract the best talent to government service. In a letter to Congress, she argued that the expansion would foster “parity” between House employees and other federal employees.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the majority leader, said that the increase in staff maximum salaries would allow the House to compete with the private sector in maintaining quality staffing. He said that he intends to call for additional benefits, including child care and student loan repayment.
Each member of Congress is granted a pool of money annually for salaries and expenses to run their legislative offices. Currently set at approximately $1.5 million, members use the fund to pay staff, rent office space in their district, and travel expenses. Each member handles their hiring and sets salaries within limits provided.
This year’s median salary for a member’s chief of staff is $152,100, while the average for a communication specialist is $32,400. Female staff salaries run lower on average than male staff salaries.
In July, the House passed an appropriations bill that would increase the funds available for member office allowances to $774 million next year. It would constitute an increase of roughly $308,000 per member over the 2021 allotment.