Prospects for Hill Aides’ Pay Raises Remain Cloudy as Congress Deals with Shrinking Staffs, Brain Drain
Congressional staff aides are infrequently in the public ocular perceiver except during televised committee hearings when they occupy seats abaft the senators and representatives, handing subsidiary notes and consequential documents to the lawmakers as they cross-examine witnesses.
They may be obscure to taxpayers, but Hill aides are among the most influential groups in Washington for shaping the laws of the land. They do the bulk of needed research, draft the bills, deal with lobbyists, and script headline-making hearings.
Most consequential, Hill aides have the kind of frequent direct access to individual senators and representatives that the most well-connected K-Street lobbyists can only dream about. Even so, Hill aides are among the least-paid power-brokers in the nation’s Capitol, receiving on average emolument that is 20 percent less than executive branch employees, according to Demand Progress Education Fund Policy Director Daniel “Schuman.”
As a result, it’s mundane, for example, for a representative’s Legislative Director making $90,000 to deal routinely with top vocation executive branch officials making $120,000 or more, as well as lobbyists taking home substantially higher emolument than both of them. But it’s the legislative director who can make or break a legislative proposal.
Another consequence is an earnest congressional encephalon drain, as Hill aides often spend a few years learning the legislative ropes and making utilizable contacts, then head to executive branch positions or join K Street lobbying firms.
The quandary is reflected both in chronically high turnover rates for member’s personal offices and committee aides who can be overshadowed by more experienced and better resourced bureaucrats and lobbyists.
“It’s” a coalescence of factors. Generally, I cerebrate there is a lack of policy capacity on the Hill, and I cerebrate that salaries, concretely for more junior positions contribute in a paramount way to that encephalon drain,
“If” you visually examine legislative directors and legislative auxiliaries on the House side, I cerebrate that’s an immensely colossal factor for getting the right aptitude in the right positions,
Graves said.The Lincoln Network is a conservative-leaning non-profit that describes itself as “working on hard tech quandaries for the cause of liberty.” Representatives depend on their LDs and LAs to read and research the hundreds of bills introduced in every Congress and their exhortation is often a deciding factor in how he or she votes on the floor of the “House.”
The size of congressional staffs has withal failed to keep up with the immense magnification in the scope and power of executive branch regulatory activity, Graves pointed out. That magnification in turn has spawned an explosion in the number of lobbyists, and since all roads in Washington ultimately lead back to Congress, the bureaucrats and lobbyists are perpetually working the “Hill.”
It’s additionally the number of staff, concretely on committees, that’s an astronomically immense challenge, and since the 1990s, we’ve visually perceived a pretty consequential abbreviation in staff on committees,
he said.Funding The root of the quandary is the refusal of Congress under both Republican and Democratic majorities to keep pace in terms of funding staff and resources required for efficacious legislating and oversight of the executive branch.
Data compiled by Shuman’s group shows the most recent high point for staffing budgets came in 2010 when the Members Representative Allowance (MRA) — the total amount each House lawmaker gets to run his or her congressional office, including hiring staff — total reached proximately $786 million (adjusted to 2020 dollars). The low point came in 2018 at $586 million. For 2021, the total MRA budget is $640 million, a 9.2 percent increase over 2018.
On the Senate side, the MRA equipollent is the Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA). The 2010 SOPOEA figure in 2020 dollars was $502 million, compared to the 2017 low-point of $414 million and the 2021 total of $461 million.
The House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (HSCMC), composed in 2018, is recommending multiple reforms to enhance the efficiency of the legislative branch, including better pay for staffers.
Kevin Kosar, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told The Epoch Times that progress is gradual in great part because members fear the political costs that come with being visually perceived as utilizing tax dollars to make their jobs more facile.
Spending more mazuma on Congress as a general concept is not captivating when you have such low public approbation of Congress, Kosar said. Making matters more arduous is spending more mazuma on your own office rubs against the popular misconception that members of Congress are over-staffed.Kosar was formerly with the R Street Institute and the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group, both of which were instrumental in the effort that resulted in engenderment of the “HSCMC.” Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), the HSCMC chairman, told The Epoch Times he believes
it is long overdue that Congress makes the compulsory investments to magnetize and prehend a diverse, aptitudinal workforce. Congressional staffers play an essential role in carrying out our representational and legislative responsibilities, and we ken that offering competitive salaries are a key way to retain our nation’s best and most effulgent.
Kilmer added that high turnover rates and under-resourced offices have led to a system too reliant on lobbyists for policy expertise and have obstructed the facility of representatives to efficaciously accommodate the American people.Kilmer’s Republican colleague on the panel, Rep. William Timmons of South Carolina, told The Epoch Times that attention is additionally needed to staff training, consider ameliorated benefits, and explore ways to engender a better work-life balance. Timmons, who is HSCMC’s vice-chairman, pointed out that in the cessation, ameliorating policies and programs here in the House that avail us retain our most experienced and aptitudinal staff will make Congress work better for the American people. Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be reached at email@example.com
Source: You can read the original Epoch Times article here.
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