Capitol Hill staffers divulge how low salaries shape their lives: taking second jobs, skipping groceries, seeking low income housing

Capitol Hill staffers
Congressional staffers sample entries at the annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019. Some staffers scout for free food at Hill events to save money.

  • 8 Capitol Hill staffers shared with Insider how they budget their monthly salaries.
  • Some staffers’ salaries were so low, they qualified for income-assisted housing.
  • This story is part of Insider’s continuing coverage of Capitol Hill as a workplace.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

They may walk the halls of Congress in neatly-pressed suits and help their bosses write important legislation, but their bank accounts tell a different story.

Entire paychecks eaten by day care expenses. Vending-machine ice cream for dinner. Hundreds of dollars going to a decade’s worth of credit-card debt. Relying on income-assisted housing to keep a roof over their head.

These are the real-life budgets of Capitol Hill staffers, who are paid starting in the $20,000s to work demanding jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

As part of our coverage of Capitol Hill workplace issues, Insider asked current and former congressional staffers about how far their paychecks got them in Washington, DC. We received an outpouring of responses from staffers at all levels who felt compelled to speak up about what they considered a practice that hinders diversity, favors hires from privileged backgrounds, and drives talented minds to lobbying shops.

Their salaries ranged from $30,000 to $85,000 – but even the staffer on the higher end confessed that his entire paycheck gets eaten by childcare. You can read the full story here:

Be sure to check out Insider’s additional reporting on Capitol Hill workplace issues:

Do you have a tip about Capitol Hill workplace issues to share? Bad bosses, toxic offices, or questionable behavior toward congressional staffers? Email hillsalarydiaries@insider.com, or message 1-202-567-7343 on Signal, and we’ll keep you anonymous.

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Remaining fencing erected around the US Capitol after the January 6 riot is set to be removed within days: AP

Capitol
The US Capitol is shown through security fencing on March 21, 2021.

The remaining fencing that was erected around the US Capitol shortly after the January 6 riot is set to come down as soon as next week, according to The Associated Press.

Three individuals close to the matter told the outlet that the US Capitol Police Board put into motion a plan to take down the fencing by July 9. The sources spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity and were unable to discuss any further details.

The board, which conducts oversight over the police force, is composed of the sergeants at arms of the House and Senate and the Architect of the Capitol, according to The Associated Press.

In March, the Capitol Police removed an outer fence that blocked off a large part of the area to cars and pedestrians, but an interior perimeter fence remains.

Read more: How Trump could use his relationship with Putin and Russia to skirt prosecution back in the USA

The fencing has been unpopular among Capitol Hill residents, who have lamented its effect of cutting off the complex from the general public.

The Capitol Police Board in February reportedly endorsed keeping up the fencing through September as a precautionary measure.

Local leaders that same month swatted down a proposal that would have installed permanent fencing around the Capitol building.

The outer fencing was removed in March, just weeks after insurrectionists breached the Capitol to stop the electoral vote certification of President Joe Biden, who defeated former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

In early April, a car driven by 25-year-old Noah Green rammed into a barricade outside the Capitol complex, killing William Francis Evans, a Capitol Police officer, and injuring another officer.

After Green brandished a knife and lunged at the officers, he was shot and killed by the police.

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Capitol Hill staffers get real about budgeting on low pay: skipping groceries, surviving on vending machine ice cream and spending entire paychecks on childcare

Capitol Hill staffers
Congressional staffers sample entries at the annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Capitol Hill on April 09, 2019. Some staffers scout for free food at Hill events to save money.

  • 8 Capitol Hill staffers shared with Insider how they budget their monthly salaries.
  • Some staffers’ salaries were so low, they qualified for income-assisted housing.
  • This story is part of Insider’s continuing coverage of Capitol Hill as a workplace.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

They may walk the halls of Congress in neatly-pressed suits and help their bosses write important legislation, but their bank accounts tell a different story.

Entire paychecks eaten by day care expenses. Vending-machine ice cream for dinner. Hundreds of dollars going to a decade’s worth of credit-card debt. Relying on income-assisted housing to keep a roof over their head.

These are the real-life budgets of Capitol Hill staffers, who are paid starting in the $20,000s to work demanding jobs in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

As part of our coverage of Capitol Hill workplace issues, Insider asked current and former congressional staffers about how far their paychecks got them in Washington, DC. We received an outpouring of responses from staffers at all levels who felt compelled to speak up about what they considered a practice that hinders diversity, favors hires from privileged backgrounds, and drives talented minds to lobbying shops.

Their salaries ranged from $30,000 to $85,000 – but even the staffer on the higher end confessed that his entire paycheck gets eaten by childcare. You can read the full story here:

Be sure to check out Insider’s additional reporting on Capitol Hill workplace issues:

Do you have a tip about Capitol Hill workplace issues to share? Bad bosses, toxic offices, or questionable behavior toward congressional staffers? Email hillsalarydiaries@insider.com, or message 1-202-567-7343 on Signal, and we’ll keep you anonymous.

Read the original article on Business Insider

As threats rise, Democratic lawmakers are concerned for their safety when they head to their home districts

DC security
National Guard keep watch on the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Capitol Police said there was a 107% increase in threats to lawmakers in the first 5 months of 2021.
  • Some Democratic lawmakers are worried about safety when they go home, The Washington Post reported.
  • Lawmakers have already spent thousands on private security following the Capitol riots.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic lawmakers heading back home to their districts are concerned over their safety in light of the January 6 Capitol riot and continuing threats, The Washington Post reported.

Several Democrats have privately expressed concerns to leadership over their safety, while others have publicly spoken about the difficulty of balancing the need for public in-person events with the need for security, the Post reported.

“Obviously we’re going to return to more outward-facing live, in-person things and I’m thrilled about that. I want to do that,” Rep. Susan Wild told the Post. “I think we’re going to have to be very cautious. I think there’s going to have to be some ramped-up security. Hopefully it’s going to be low key, I don’t want people to feel like they’re walking into an armed event, but I imagine doing a lot of events in parks, in the daytime, staffers and local police are around.”

Read more: A multitude of Trump-era mysteries are poised to come roaring back into the headlines. Everyone involved is bracing for what happens after that.

Earlier this month, the Capitol Police reported that threats against lawmakers increased by 107% in the first five months of 2021 compared to 2020.

“Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase,” the Capitol Police wrote earlier this month in response to an inspector general report.

While the House approved a bill that would allot $21.5 million for lawmakers’ safety while traveling and for district office security upgrades as part of a $1.9 billion proposal to strengthen security at the Capitol following the riots, it has stalled in the Senate, where Republicans are opposed to the cost. Democrats are also not fully committed.

Several lawmakers, including Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, have already spent tens of thousands of dollars on private security following the Capitol attack, a Punchbowl News analysis of campaign finance records shows.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pelosi ordered flags to be flown at half-staff after a Capitol Police officer died following car-ramming incident

US Capitol
The U.S. Capitol is seen past the Washington Monument as a flock of Geese fly over the National Mall on President’s Day, February 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the US Capitol on Friday.
  • A US Capitol Police officer died after an incident where a man rammed two officers with a car at a security barrier.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the US Capitol on Friday. A US Capitol Police officer died after an incident where a man rammed two officers with a car at a security barrier.

At a press conference on Friday, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said that a Capitol Police officer died and another was injured after someone rammed a car into a barricade outside the US Capitol building on Friday.

According to Pittman, the suspect “exited the car with a knife in hand” and lunged at the officers. Pittman said that the suspect did not comply with a verbal command, and the officers opened fire, killing the suspect, she added.

The Capitol went into lockdown earlier Friday after Capitol Police texted an alert telling people in the complex to stay indoors because of an “external security threat.” Congress is in recess and neither the House nor the Senate are in session.

At the press conference, hours after the attack, Pittman said the security threat was “neutralized.”

This story is breaking. Check back for updates.

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A Capitol Police officer was suspended after a Hill staffer spotted a printout of anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion at a checkpoint

capitol police
A U.S. Capitol Police officer wears a mourning band over his badge following a police procession of the hearse carrying the casket of Brian Sicknick, U.S. Capitol Police Officer who died from injuries following the U.S. Capitol building siege on Wednesday, on January 10, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • A Capitol Police officer appeared to have a copy of the Protocols of Elders of Zion at a checkpoint.
  • A concerned congressional aide snapped a photo, and the officer is being investigated.
  • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a centuries-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Capitol Police officer was suspended on Monday after a Capitol Hill staffer photographed a printed copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion at a security checkpoint inside Congress, according to The Washington Post.

A congressional aide spotted the infamous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the desk near a checkpoint, photographed the document and shared it with The Post. The checkpoint was near a 24-hour entrance of the Longworth House Office Building.

Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman told The Post that the relevant officer was suspended pending an investigation.

“We take all allegations of inappropriate behavior seriously,” Pittman said. “Once this matter was brought to my attention, I immediately ordered the officer to be suspended until the Office of Professional Responsibility can thoroughly investigate.”

The House staff member who shared the photograph requested anonymity from The Post for fear of reprisal and said they were “extremely rattled” upon discovering the document out in the open.

According to the report, a date stamp on the document showed that it was printed in January 2019.

The staffer told The Post that in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, where rioters were photographed wearing and holding anti-Semitic imagery, they felt compelled to report what they saw.

In February, Capitol Police announced that they were investigating 35 officers for actions related to the insurrection, and six were suspended.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a centuries-old conspiracy theory targeting Jewish people born in Imperial Russia and claims to detail a meeting of all-powerful Jewish elders who create a plan for world control.

The text, though fraudulent, was a centerpiece to anti-Semitic ideology in Nazi Germany and has been routinely advanced by white-supremacist groups in the US since the 1920s, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

According to The Post, the Capitol Police officer’s copy of the Elders of Zion appeared to be sourced from a far-right and anti-Semitic Australian website called the Bible Believers Church.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert was slammed on Twitter for bungling the basics of the Constitution

lauren boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 4, 2021.

  • Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado was slammed on Twitter for bungling basic constitutional knowledge.
  • She said the Constitution was not meant to “rewrite the parts you don’t like.”
  • There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution since it was first ratified in 1788.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has made headlines as a vocal and provocative defender of gun rights, but on Friday she was slammed by Twitter users for bungling a basic civics lesson.

Boebert, a self-professed champion of Constitutional rights, tweeted that “protecting and defending the Constitution doesn’t mean trying to rewrite the parts you don’t like.”

Her statement belies the fact that the document has changed and expanded multiple times, hence the additional amendments.

The Constitution, which was written in 1787, established America’s national government and fundamental laws. It was ratified by nine of the original 13 states in 1788.

When the Constitution was first drafted, the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were not a part of the document. In December 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified.

There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment, which guarantees a right to keep and bear arms, the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, and the 17th Amendment, which mandated the direct election of Senators in each state.

The blowback was swift.

Charlotte Clymer, the director of communications at Catholics for Choice, called out Boebert for her lack of knowledge about women’s suffrage.

“Lauren Boebert is a member of Congress and doesn’t understand that we have literally rewritten/revised the Constitution 27 times to do things like abolish slavery and, you know, extend the right to vote and run for office to women … like Lauren Boebert,” she tweeted.

Former South Carolina Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers made a reference to the television game show “Jeopardy,” tweeting “What are amendments for $200?”

The GOP congresswoman, who has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory while denying that she is a follower, has previously gone viral for her pro-gun political statements, including the release of an ad where she indicated that she would carry her handgun on the Capitol grounds.

During a virtual meeting this week, Boebert sported a backdrop with multiple firearms while the House Natural Resources Committee debated a proposed rule to ban firearms in its hearing room.

Boebert ridiculed the move, even calling for Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, the committee chair, to issue a personal security detail for her if she couldn’t carry a firearm.

While members of Congress can keep firearms in their offices, they cannot bring them inside the House and Senate chambers.

“This rule is absurd and discriminative,” Boebert complained. “This is a blatant violation of our constitutional rights.”

Despite Boebert’s objections, the rule was approved by a voice vote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Congress members vow to finish the electoral certification process to confirm Biden’s 2020 victory after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol

GettyImages congress members capitol hill
Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., and other members take cover as protesters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

  • Several members of Congress have pledged to complete the 2020 presidential certification after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol.
  • “Whatever it takes. These thugs are not running us off,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Wednesday, per Politico.
  • The electoral process, which would confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, began around 1 p.m. ET but was abruptly halted after mobs breached the Capitol grounds.
  • The Capitol went into lockdown, and lawmakers were photographed huddled under chairs and in gas masks. 
  • Congress members, reporters, and staff were later evacuated as the demonstrators placed themselves outside of the House and Senate chambers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Several members of Congress have vowed to complete the presidential election certification after supporters of President Donald Trump violently clashed with police and stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.

“Whatever it takes. These thugs are not running us off,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said, per Politico.

Congress convened around 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday to tally the Electoral College votes, a process that would confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. The joint session was abruptly halted for hours after mobs breached the Capitol grounds. The Capitol went into lockdown, and lawmakers were photographed huddled under chairs and in gas masks, before being evacuated from the House and Senate chambers when demonstrators placed  themselves outside the doors.

Democratic senators reported that Hill staffers managed to save the electoral ballots shortly before they evacuated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the siege “a shameful assault” on American democracy and said the electoral count will proceed on Wednesday night. 

“We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished,” Pelosi said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the process will continue at 8 p.m. ET, according to CNN

The House’s chief law enforcement officer, the Sergeant at Arms, announced a little after 5:30 p.m. that the Capitol had been secured, according to The Huffington Post. Capitol Police, joined by the Metropolitan Police Department and National Guard troops of DC and Virginia, helped secure the building.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who issued a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump’s baseless election claims on the Senate floor earlier on Wednesday, has informed lawmakers that they should return to the chamber and “project strength after today’s catastrophe,” The Washington Post reported

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed the calls on Twitter, saying: “The U.S. Senate must reconvene today and finish our constitutional work.”

He also called for “federal officials to form task force to identify those who breached the Capitol, vandalized our national institutions, and expect prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.”

“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty,” GOP Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted. “I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

The rioters, donned in pro-Trump gear and several waving confederate flags, shattered windows, fought with police, entered the Capitol chambers, broke into lawmakers’ offices, stole memorabilia, and left threatening messages during the breach. 

Lawmakers began condemning the violence on Twitter, while Trump neglected to offer a strong statement to end the protests. He wrote two tweets calling for supporters to “stay peaceful.”

 

The president, who has still refused to acknowledge his election defeat, encouraged his supporters to come to the nation’s capital on the same day of the vote certification in a show of protest.

Biden appeared on national television and urged Trump to “defend the Constitution” and demand an end to the chaos. Trump then posted a video online asking his supporters to “go home” while also telling them that they’re “special” and repeating his unfounded allegations against the election. Twitter and Facebook have taken down the video.

The turmoil appears to be a culmination of Trump falsely declaring for weeks that the election was rigged and mounting over 40 legal challenges to overturn the results, all of which were unsuccessful.

Tensions over the election in Washington, DC, intensified last week after dozens of GOP House members and at least 13 Republican senators, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, announced plans to object to the certification process. Critics called the move a last-ditch effort to challenge the outcome, though it would not have changed the election results.

“We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way, today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote,” Pelosi said on Wednesday evening. “We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”

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Fox News anchor called Trump supporters breaching US Capitol ‘a huge victory for these protesters’

dc maga protest
Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.

  • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum called the rioters who broke into Capitol Hill Wednesday “a huge victory for these protesters.”
  • Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, DC to protest the Electoral College vote to certification. 
  • But the electoral vote certification debate was halted after rioters breached security, causing all Capitol buildings to be put on lockdown. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum called Trump supporters who breached police barricades and caused a lockdown at the US Capitol Wednesday “a huge victory for these protesters.”

“They have disputed the system in an enormous way,” MacCallum said referring to the rioters, who halted the electoral vote certification debate,  left multiple officers injured

 

Thousands of supporters gathered in Washington, DC for the “March for Trump” demonstration on Wednesday morning to rally against Congress as they debate the 2020 general election results after weeks of the president’s baseless claims stating that he won. 

Videos captured protesters’ standoff with law enforcement and rioters rushing into the Capitol building prompting immediate evacuation for lawmakers and reporters. Other representatives were asked to shelter in place. 

 

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a 6p.m citywide curfew until Thursday morning.

“Durin the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by ar or other transports upon any street, alley, park or other public place within the District,”  Bowser said in a statement. 

Trump, who spoke at the rally before Congress convened, eventually called for his supporters to “remain peaceful,” but officials called for a stronger denouncement of the rioters. 

“No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the law and our great men and woman in Blue. Thank you!.”

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