Demand Progress

Tell Congress: Pay your staff and interns a fair wage!

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    Tell Congress: Pay your staff and interns a fair wage!

    Petition to Congress:

    Unpaid internships and low-paying congressional jobs are unfair to both the people who work them and your constituents. It all but ensures that staff and interns will come from predominantly privileged backgrounds, and those who don't are at a disadvantage because they are often forced to hold second jobs to make ends meet. Furthermore, it encourages staffers to take their knowledge and expertise they learned on the Hill and go work for lobbying firms and corporations that will pay them a lot more. Your constituents deserve interns and staffers who are 100% focused on serving them and their neighbors. Please support increasing the budget for congressional staff so interns and aides can be paid a living wage.

    In a recent tweet that went viral, Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described visiting a late night dive spot for some food, and meeting several servers and bartenders who are CURRENT congressional staffers on Capitol Hill.

    All day they are assisting constituents, researching and crafting policy, answering phones, and meeting with visitors, and then at night they take on a second shift to make ends meet in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

    Working two or more jobs just to make ends meet is, of course, the reality for millions of Americans. And that's something that members of Congress like Ocasio-Cortez were elected to help change.

    Tell Congress: Pay your staff members a living wage!

    You may be thinking, "why should I care about congressional aides when me and my family, friends, and neighbors are all struggling, and we DON'T rub elbows with members of Congress everyday?

    Here's why: Because when congressional aides are poorly paid, bad things happen that make our government less responsive to ALL of us.

    Poor pay means these jobs are increasingly filled by people who come from families that can afford to subsidize their living expenses in DC. Without better pay, people from lower-income families cannot get these jobs. Their views are unrepresented in the halls of power.

    Congressional aides have a lot of influence over their bosses that make policy decisions for all of us. We can’t let those jobs be filled by people from elite, privileged backgrounds.

    Tell Congress: Pay your staff members a living wage!

    Congressional offices already rely too heavily on lobbyists to learn about issues and legislation. They don't have the time and resources to do the research on all the legislation their members are expected to vote on.

    Forcing staff on Capitol Hill to work two jobs means they have even less time and energy to do the people’s work.

    We already see the damaging effect of low wages. Many congressional staffers can't support their families with their jobs. That leads lobbyists and big corporations to offer big money to hire those with knowledge and skill from working in Congress and get paid a lot more for it. The revolving door from Congress to K Street is a serious problem from the top all the way to the bottom.

    Paying Congressional staffers a living wage will help dismantle the revolving door in DC. It will help open the doors of power to people from all backgrounds in our country, not just a privileged elite.

    Tell your member of Congress: Don't make your workers live on a poverty wage. Pay your interns and institute living wages for all staffers!