U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in one of her last moves as speaker of the House, has decided to raise the salary cap for House staffers.
Pelosi, whose House speakership will come to an end on Tuesday, revealed the new pay order in a letter that she sent out on Friday to her House colleagues.
“It is my privilege as Speaker to announce that the House will raise the maximum annual rate of pay for staff to $212,100,” Pelosi wrote.
As the Daily Wire points out, this means that it will now be possible for a House staff member to make more money than the lawmaker for whom he or she is working, as U.S. Senators and Representatives make $174,000 per year.
Pelosi, in her letter, sought to justify the raise of the staff salary cap on multiple grounds.
For one thing, Pelosi claimed, “this increase in the Speaker’s Pay Order is consistent with the recent raise in the Executive Branch Level II and Senior Executive Branch maximum annual salary rate.”
But, Pelosi also argued that the staff salary cap raise is needed to attract the best staffers.
“As you know, our hard-working, patriotic Congressional staffers are integral to the functioning of the House of Representatives: ensuring this institution can effectively carry out our legislative and constituent responsibilities,” Pelosi writes.
“To that end,” she continues, “we must do all we can to retain and recruit the best talent in our nation — and to build a Congressional workforce that reflects the communities we are honored to serve.”
It’s the second raise in the past year
As Pelosi, herself, points out in her letter, this is not the first time that she has raised the House staff salary cap.
Pelosi, in early 2022, also raised the same salary cap by about $5,000 from $199,300 to $203,700. At the time, Pelosi, in addition to this, set the minimum salary that a House staffer must be paid at $45,000.
Fox News reports, “the move was seen as precedent-breaking since for decades there were no official House rules governing staffer pay. Instead, House offices were free to negotiate staff pay individually.”
Fox also cites a report from Issue One, an advocacy group, showing that, before Pelosi made these changes, there was a wide variety of pay rates that House members were paying their staff members.
The report, among other things, “shows that 13% of D.C.-based congressional staff — or roughly 1 in 8 staffers — made less than a living wage in 2020.”