The Washington Post

Hundreds of Hill staffers may get pink slips


There’s a bloodbath of sorts on Capitol Hill among Senate Republican staffers, stemming from a big turnover in committee leadership. Of 21 Senate committees, 13 have new ranking Republicans. And while the new bosses might keep some members of the old regime, many of them are being shown the door.

According to an estimate compiled for the Loop by Legistorm, those committees with new GOP leaders employ some 236 GOP staffers who could be looking for work.

That’s just part of the rough-and tumble ecosystem on Capitol Hill, where Republican term limits enacted in 1997 have meant more staff turnover in the last decade, sometimes in spikes like this one. Often, the new boss’s agenda may be much different from his predecessor’s, or he simply arrives with a coterie of aides with whom he’s already comfortable.

No one said regime change was easy.

On many committees, the new ranking member is cleaning house. At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has informed the panel’s professional staffers — who had worked under former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) — that all but three of them will be let go. Those three may only be kept on temporarily, we hear.

On the Environment and Public Works panel, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) kept only two staffers who had worked for his predecessor, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Inhofe, in turn, is retaining only a small handful of those who worked on the committee whose gavel he now holds, the Senate Armed Services, under previous ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

There’s movement elsewhere, too. On the House side, there are six new committee chairmen, meaning some staffers there are on the market. And Democrats can expect some churn, too, though on a far smaller scale, since there’s less turnover among their Senate chairmen and House rankers.

It’s a jungle out there.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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