$14 million in funding for paid congressional internships gets final approval from House

Unpaid interns at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva hold a banner during demonstration organised by The Fair Internship Initiative (FII), a network of interns calling for the UN to offer paid internships, at the Place des Nations on August 14, 2017 in Geneva. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

It turns out that Republicans and Democrats still can agree on some things. With bipartisan support, paid congressional internships will finally become a reality. This week, Congress approved a spending package that set aside funding for paid interns. HuffPost reports:

The U.S. House approved the “minibus” funding bill for the 2019 fiscal year to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. About $14 million has been set aside as a part of that package to pay congressional interns, a traditionally unpaid job. The Senate passed the measure Wednesday.

The House will be given $8.8 million to distribute across members’ office, and the Senate will be given $5 million.

The approval is thanks in large part to the leadership of current and past Hill interns and the nonprofit advocacy group Pay Our Interns, which has been empowering interns to demand compensation for their work. Their report revealed that a dismal 31 percent of Democrats paid their interns, compared to 51 percent of Republicans.

This is a great step toward making congressional internships more accessible to lower-income individuals who literally cannot afford to work for free. Now it’s up to members of Congress to do the work to make sure that their intern classes reflect the diversity of race and socioeconomic status in America.

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