Reps. Smith and Moulton Lead Colleagues in Effort to Guarantee House Interns Earn a Livable Wage

April 3, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.)  are leading an effort to guarantee interns in the House of Representatives are paid a livable wage.

In a letter sent to the House Appropriations Committee, Smith and Moulton are advocating for funding levels in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 appropriations bill that would ensure all House offices will be able to compensate one full-time intern and one part time intern working 50% of the time year-round each at a wage of $15 per hour. 

“Paying our interns a living wage helps to ensure that those who want to gain the experience of public service have the opportunity to do so. Congressional internships should attract applicants from all backgrounds, and we know that unpaid and low-paying internships represent a disproportionate barrier for low-income people and people of color seeking job opportunities,” said Congressman Smith. “That’s why we’re requesting sufficient funds be included in the budget to enable House offices to pay interns a livable wage that allows them to cover living and working expenses. Our interns should reflect the diversity of our districts. Congress can and should make our internships an accessible and affordable opportunity for all.” 

The letter, which was signed by 118 House members, specifically requests that FY 2024 funding levels be maintained at FY 2023 levels of $46,800 per office. 

“Congressional internships are a great opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience working in government. But these positions are too often limited to a small group of candidates who are privileged enough to be able to afford the high cost of living in Washington,” said Congressman Moulton. “Continuing to properly fund the House intern allowance means that a diverse array of interns have the opportunity to try out public service. The more diverse perspectives we can have in Congress, the better.” 

“We commend the Legislative Branch subcommittee for voting to increase the intern fund annually, in a bipartisan manner. These actions have increased intern stipends, and made Congressional internships a more feasible option for those from working-class backgrounds. But as the letter states, there is more work to be done. We must eliminate infrastructure red tape, and continue expanding opportunities for our country’s youth,” said Carlos Mark Vera, Executive Director of Pay Our Interns. 

Read the full letter here

Rep. Smith led a similar effort last year that resulted in a raise in funding for intern compensation from the FY22 levels of $35,000 per office to the FY23 levels of $46,800 per office.