The U.S. governance system is divided into three branches; the executive, the judicial and the legislative. The legislative branch of the U.S. government is the Congress, located in Washington, D.C. on what's called Capitol Hill. Congress itself is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives, and many staff assistants work to assist senators and representatives with their day-to-day responsibilities.
The U.S. Congress is commonly referred to as Capitol Hill because it sits on a higher part of the city once called Jenkins Hill. Congress has 535 members: 100 senators and 435 representatives, with each member of Congress having a government-paid staff. Capitol Hill staffers are employees of the Congress itself or of its individual elected members.
According to C-SPAN, there are about 24,000 congressional staffers in several different categories, including personal staffers. Capitol Hill staff also includes institutional staff such as the Capitol Police and non-partisan support staff such as the Congressional Budget Office. Salaries for Capitol Hill staffers also depend on whether they're in partisan or non-partisan positions and whether they're employed by Congress or by its elected officials. Though salaries vary widely, Capitol Hill staff assistants themselves make relatively low salaries -- $30,000 yearly.
Capitol Hill staff assistants make up much of the workforce in the House of Representatives, according to the "Washington Times." The average Capitol Hill staff assistant is around 24 years old and working in a position that is frequently his or her first job after college. Capitol Hill staff assistant positions also turn over frequently, partly due to high stress and low pay. Salary wise, staff assistants on Capitol Hill are in the bottom fifth of the Washington, D.C. region's college-educated workforce.
Congress is somewhat opaque when it comes to defining staffer roles, positions and duties, according to the Congressional Research Service. However, the CRS says that Capitol Hill staff assistants are constituent services representatives or caseworkers. Typically, staff assistants on Capitol Hill act as the grassroots representatives for members of Congress, and they keep members updated on issues within their districts. A Capitol Hill staff assistant generally acts as a liaison between federal, state and local agencies on behalf of constituents.
- Ranker: Countries Ruled by Constitutional Republic
- BasicsProject.org: Constitutional Republic
- The Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project: The Mysterious Mr. Jenkins of Jenkins Hill: The Early History of the Capitol Site
- The Washington Times: Congressional Staffers, Public Shortchanged by High Turnover, Low Pay
- Huffington Post: Low Salaries on Capitol Hill Feed 'Culture of Made-Up Poverty'
- C-Span.org: Congress
- Congressional Research Service: Congressional Staff: Duties and Functions of Selected Positions
- Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images