Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Thursday that a package of appropriations bills approved by the Senate includes funding to pay congressional interns for the first time.
The package includes $8.8 million to pay House interns and $5 million to pay Senate interns. The Senate funds will be in included in accounts used to pay staff and provides an average of $50,000 to each Senate office, an amount which varies by state. The $8.8 million to pay House interns will provide $20,000 in a newly created account for each member office.
Senator Leahy has paid interns in his office for their work since he was first elected to the Senate in 1975. Paying Congressional interns opens up access to a career in public service to the most qualified students from varied backgrounds regardless of socioeconomic status.
Senator Leahy said: “I am proud to have paid my interns from my first day in the Senate, and today, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was able to ensure that other members pay theirs as well. A Congressional internship offers an entrance to a career in public service, but many dedicated young adults do not have the means to spend a summer working for free in Washington or in our home districts. By paying interns for their work, we open the door to a wider and more diverse pool of applicants looking to serve their country.”
The funds for intern pay were included as part of the Conference Agreement between the House and the Senate on a package of appropriations bills. The package includes the fiscal year 2019 Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Programs, and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bills. The package was approved by the Senate by a vote of 92 to 5 and must now pass the House and be signed into law by the President.
Senator Leahy’s full statement is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/minority/vice-chairman-patrick-leahy-d-vt-statement-on-on-senate-passage-of-the-minibus-i-conference-report
A conference report summary is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/minority/senate-appropriations-committee-vice-chairman-leahy-d-vt-releases-conference-agreement-summary-for-minibus-i
Conference report text is available HERE: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Conference%20Report%20to%20accompany%20H.R.%205895.pdf