Washington D.C.Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement on the inclusion of a provision in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Minibus conference report that would allocate $20,000 in funding for each Member’s office to pay interns:

“I am pleased that we are taking a meaningful first step toward providing paid internship opportunities in the United States House of Representatives. While long over-due, I applaud House Appropriators for recognizing the hardships that unpaid internships pose for many who seek to contribute and learn on Capitol Hill. 

“We must now build on and go further than the Minibus appropriations conference report’s allocation to each House office. This measure only allocates funds for the coming fiscal year, and the funding amount it provides will force offices to choose between paying interns on a less than full-time basis, paying them below the minimum wage in the District of Columbia, or offering a paid internship for only part of the year. Congress has a responsibility to provide equality of opportunity for all to intern on Capitol Hill – and that means funding a full-time, year-round internship position in each Member’s Capitol Hill or district congressional office at a livable wage.

“The House Intern Pay Act, which I introduced earlier this month, would authorize funding for a consistent, full-time internship program in each Member’s office at a rate of $15 per hour. I look forward to working with a growing group of my colleagues to bring the House Intern Pay Act to the floor for a vote to ensure that we provide a permanent and dedicated funding stream to pay interns so that all students have the ability to intern on Capitol Hill.”