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Sunday, April 7, 2024

Brain Drain on the Hill

Many posts have discussed the current state of Congress.

 Peter M. Weichlein at Newsweek:

Would you call an organization that has seen more than 50 percent turnover in upper management over less than six years a mess? I would, and so did a bipartisan group of almost 300 former members of Congress who, when asked in a recent survey to attach adjectives to the current Congress, landed on the following top five words: dysfunctional, partisan, polarized, divided, mess.

Since 2019, almost 250 members of Congress were replaced, either through retirement or election loss, and that number will obviously rise by the time the 119th Congress is sworn in. Already, more than 50 representatives and senators have announced that they are retiring or seeking other offices. That's experienced upper management and decades of institutional knowledge walking out the door.

The numbers are even worse at the staff level, where average tenure right now is less than 5 years. According to LegiStorm, which tracks congressional staff rosters and salaries, 55 percent more House staff members left their jobs in 2021 than in the preceding year. Does the date Jan. 6, 2021, ring a bell?

We're giving current and potential candidates for office every reason imaginable to consider other professional paths. Salaries for current members of Congress have remained unchanged for almost two decades. When one accounts for inflation, salaries have actually decreased 29 percent, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.


In 2023, Capitol Police opened over 8,000 threat assessment cases based on complaints filed by members, their families, and their staffs. That's an increase of about 400 percent over the past six years—while at the same time, almost 400 officers have left the Department since Jan. 6, 2021.