Congressional staff shall be limited to twenty-five thousand persons unless increased by a majority vote of the State legislatures upon the request of Congress.
Unless increased by a majority vote of the State legislatures upon the request of Congress, the total staff answerable to members of the House of Representatives and Senate and their committees shall not exceed twenty-five thousand persons for allocation among them as the members of Congress deem appropriate.
In 2012 the expected budget for operating Congress, including all compensation payable to members of Congress and their staff, as well as the cost of its police force, buildings, the General Accounting Office, the congressional budget office, and others, is estimated to be $4.5 billion dollars. It is common knowledge that much of this money goes to compensate persons who support representatives and senators in their work both within their offices and in various committees. These persons are commonly referred to as “congressional staff.” Some of these persons use their jobs as stepping stones to more rewarding opportunities requiring a knowledge of congressional operations and familiarity with particular persons who can make things happen. Others become experts and spend their professional years over complex laws like Social Security, Medicare, and the Internal Revenue Code. Without them, Congress in all likelihood would collapse.
In 2000 each congressman was entitled to fourteen staff persons and each senator was entitled to thirty-four staff persons. Each House committee averaged sixty-eight persons and each Senate committee averaged forty-six persons. We believe the size of staff over which any single elected representative can responsibly exercise supervision must be limited; otherwise, there comes a point when the staff begins to rule the nation. A single person has only so much time to manage activities where those activities involve the affairs of the nation. This is different from a chief executive officer, who manages a company with thousands of employees. In the latter case, those employees have intermediate managers each charged with a mission to accomplish some specific task, which is ultimately measured by the profit generated for the company.
Representatives in a democracy must continuously balance the needs of the public interest with the liberties and freedoms of individuals to ensure the preservation of that essential balance, which promotes creativity and provides incentives to work hard to better the lives of all.
The current staff numbers applicable in 2000 may or may not reflect what is appropriate to achieve this balance without losing control. Assuming that the relative ratios existing in 2000 between representatives and senators are appropriate, then one should know that at that time the House of Representatives was authorized to hire 6,090 people, and the Senate was authorized to hire 3,400 people, each without counting their committee staff. Other information shows that the Senate has twenty committees, seventy sub-committees and four joint committees. The U.S. House of Representatives has twenty-three committees of which three are special committees and twenty are standing committees which are in turn divided into 104 sub-committees. One report states that in the 1990s, the House hired eleven thousand staff members, and the Senate hired six thousand staff members. It was recently reported that a large number of congressional staffers receive six-figure salaries some as high as $163,000 per year. There are nearly two thousand House staffers with salaries of $172,500.
Since it is clear that the more staff members Congress has, the more work and laws they produce, it is also clear that, without proper limits, congressional staff will continue to grow and threaten our freedoms. As such, we believe that limiting the staff of Congress has the same discipline supporting the rule of law as does our proposed amendment limiting the number of regulations. We propose that the staff of representatives, senators and the various committees not exceed twenty-five thousand persons. As a hedge against unforeseen demands, we recommend entrusting the State legislatures with the power to increase this number upon the request of Congress.