House to pay interns, following Senate’s lead

House to pay interns, following Senate’s lead
© Greg Nash

Starting in 2019, interns in both the House and Senate can expect a paycheck for their work.

Earlier in the year, the Senate included $5 million to cover intern pay in the 2019 legislative branch appropriations bill.

While the original House version of the bill lacked similar provisions, House appropriators agreed to include $8.8 million in funding to pay interns during the conferencing of the bill, which irons out differences between the two chambers.

The decision came out in the public conference hearing for a package of three appropriations bills on Wednesday, which included the legislative branch bill, the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.

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“Because the bulk of Congressional Internships are unpaid, they are implicitly easier for individuals from privileged backgrounds to participate in and complete,” said Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanOhio, Washington reps make Rose Bowl wager Pelosi agrees to term limits vote; insurgency collapses Tim Ryan backs term limits deal with Pelosi MORE (D-Ohio), the top Democrat in the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. 

“By providing this dedicated funding to help House offices pay their interns, we are moving to level the playing field and provide opportunities for young Americans who may not otherwise have the financial means necessary to dedicate a full semester or summer to an unpaid internship,” he added.

The House and Senate are hoping to pass the package as early as Friday, but differences over how to fund the veteran’s choice health program remain, and could push a final agreement past the weekend.