Forty House Democrats are sponsoring Rep. Adam Smith’s reintroduced House Intern Pay Act that would require a $15-an-hour minimum wage for the young employees.
“Paid internships help to bring a diversity of ideas and backgrounds to both the Washington, D.C. and local district offices, and expand equality of opportunity for all to participate in our democracy,” Smith said in a statement Tuesday.
“For congressional offices to represent the diverse interests of their constituents, it is important that everyone has the opportunity to engage in the legislative process and civic service,” Smith said.
Interns have been part of the congressional scene for decades, but for much of their history they were unpaid. Many still are, or receive only minimal compensation.
The hours can be long but the learning opportunities are endless and hundreds of interns take advantage of the chance to work for a senator or representative every year, most often in the summer months.
According to Smith’s statement, “the House Intern Pay Act would help alleviate this problem by allowing interns in each Member, Delegate, and Resident Commissioner congressional office in the House of Representatives to receive a livable wage.
“Specifically, this bill permanently authorizes amounts to fund a full-time, year-round internship position in each Member’s Capitol Hill or district congressional office at a rate of $15 per hour for the first year of enactment. The rate of intern will increase in tandem with percentage increases in Consumer Price Index each year thereafter.