Raise the cap on the number of permanent staff and additional staff allowed to work in Member offices.
In 1975, the House capped the number of staff that can serve in Member offices at 18 permanent staff and four additional staff. Yet in the 45 years since the cap was put in place, the U.S. population has expanded, and Members are representing larger constituencies. The policy agenda has become increasingly complex, presenting staff with a constant stream of new issues and constituent concerns to address.
The combination of increased workloads and stagnant staff growth has led to an increased dependence on outside resources and research. Lobbyists, trade associations, and other policy-oriented organizations assist overburdened staff. But this dependency on outside expertise raises questions about biases in the policy making process.
Committee Members agreed that raising the cap and allowing Member offices to hire additional staff would help offices better serve their constituents, reduce stress on staff, and thereby improve staff retention. Specifically, the Committee recommends raising the cap on permanent staffers from 18 to 22 and raising the cap on additional staffers from four to six. Because office space is a perennial issue in Congress, Members could consider implementing a more regular telework policy once the U.S. workforce is back in physical office spaces full-time.