Study: 95% of Lawmakers Who Support Minimum Wage Hike Don’t Pay Their Interns
Fox News Insider
August 14, 2017
In the Senate, Senators Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Chris Murphy and 20 other cosponsors of the Raise the Wage Act hire unpaid interns. In the House, Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Keith Ellison, Maxine Waters and 145 other cosponsors do not pay their interns.
On “Fox & Friends” this morning, Stuart Varney said the phrase “do as we say, not as we do” is quite applicable here.
“Hypocrites have been known to hide under a rock, and that’s what’s going on right now,” Varney said.
He pointed out that these internships can have extensive costs for interns – including food, housing, transportation and clothing – and not offering any payment significantly limits the pool of applicants.
“If you don’t pay them anything, then you’re simply giving jobs to the sons and daughters of the rich,” Varney said. “You’re giving opportunity to the rich so that they can get in on the ground floor. So pay them something, and open it up to all kinds of people. But they’re not doing it.”
Not only are these people hypocrites but they are insuring that only the wealthy or particularly privileged can participate in government internships.
Why? Internships are generally UNPAID positions and those who participate have expenses just as any other resident of a city does. Who pays for their rent, food, clothes, and all their normal needs if they are working as interns? Normally, mommy and daddy fork over the money unless they have some sort of grants or other income like savings or trusts. This completely cuts middle-income or low-income deserving political science or skilled young people out of the opportunity to participate. Additionally, interns are generally chosen not required to meet normal employment standards which leaves the group open to nepotism and favoritism based on donations or lobbyists recommendations.
Many senators’ offices, whether they pay or not, help interns get college credit for their time spent working. If that means you can graduate sooner, or pay for one fewer class in a given semester, you’re technically not working for nothing. But giving interns college credits — without a stipend for living costs — still ignores what’s at the heart of Pay Our Interns’ point. As Pay Our Interns founder Carlos Vera put it himself, even the best learning experiences can’t pay the bills.
In the case of the Senate–Mic Network Inc went to a lot of trouble to examine and list senators and their internship wage practices. Let’s scan the senators and in particular those who co-sponsored S-1242 Raise the Wage Act introduced by Bernie Sanders on May 25, 2017. Only 42 of the 100 senators provide some form of assistance or wages for interns. Twenty-Seven are Republican and Fifteen are Democrat. But, to be clear, some have qualifications for payment involving not receiving college credits or according to type of internship, judicial or office work. A few pay minimal amounts to help toward living expenses while most are not guaranteed to be paid.
Intern duties include a wide variety of administrative tasks. In essence they are the worker ants running to and fro, listening, gathering, compiling, and collating information for staff and congressional members. They may work long hours daily and are expected to keep the staff apprised of gossip or information coming out of any meeting they attend. They are expected to be dressed professionally and in general seen not heard unless asked–all for no or very little pay.
S 1242 – Raise the Wage Act
Bernie Sanders currently pays his interns $12/hour.
Of the 30 Democrat co-sponsors only eight show up in paying their interns even a minimal amount.
- Sherrod Brown – offers “some limited financial assistance based on need,” which students can request when they submit their applications
- Patrick Leahy – offers stipends to some interns, but they are not guaranteed, according to his site
- Angus King – pays all full-time interns in his office but no confirmation on how much
- Brian Schatz – pays all interns but no confirmation on how much
- Mazie Herono – offers travel assistance to some interns that qualify
- Elizabeth Warren – offers small stipends to applicants not receiving college credit for the internship based on need
- Jeff Merkley – offers the Otto and Verdell Rutherford Congressional Internship, a $5,000 stipend for students who couldn’t otherwise afford the opportunity, based on need
- Tim Kaine – offers stipends to students who do not receive school credit
Congressional Staff salaries:
Of course according to what level they are hired, certain qualifications and security investigations do take place but I am not clear (others may know better) on how people apply. Some appear to be on a general government employment website to apply. However for internship, checking one link shows that the information goes to a gmail.com box. Are these subject to the whims of the congress member without office management oversight?
The average salary for a Staff members in Washington, DC is $47,920. That is 51.7% higher than the national median salary of $31,580. Salary estimates are based on Staff members salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by employees in Washington, DC . Wikileaks noted in 2009 the average salary for Staff assistant was $30k; Congressional aide, $40k; Field representatives, $40k; and, Legislative counsel, $52k. After seven years, we would hope there were slight increases but unconfirmed.
However, in 2010 Politico published an article about staff wages “2,000 House staffers make six figures” that may provide a different prospective.
“Nearly 2,000 House of Representatives staffers pulled down six-figure salaries in 2009, including 43 staffers who earned the maximum $172,500 — or more than three times the median U.S. household income. Starting salaries on Capitol Hill are still low — many entry-level congressional jobs pay less than $30,000 a year. Salary data, compiled for POLITICO by LegiStorm.com (note no longer available), show that it’s possible to make an enviable living in Congress, even without winning an election.
Top earners are a small percentage of the overall congressional work force, their numbers are growing at a rapid rate under the Democratic Congress. The number of staffers earning within the upper 3 percent of House salaries — currently $163,358 or more — has increased by nearly 39 percent in the past four years, according to LegiStorm data. In 2005, there were 203 staffers earning in the top 3 percent. That number spiked to 304 people in 2008 but then dropped in 2009 to 282, likely caused in part by the economic downturn.
Pelosi’s leadership office has several high earners, including Arshi Siddiqui, a tax and trade policy adviser who was closely involved in the formation of the Democratic health care legislation.”
Yep, typical hypocrisy, governmental meddling, and leftist efforts to trash the economy while not following their own mandates. Hopefully this will also find its way to file 13.